After a week of training at their Beaverton practice facility, the Portland Timbers have headed to Tucson, AZ and are set to play their first game of the 2016 preseason: a closed match against hosting club FC Tucson.
Unfortunately, the match will not be streamed and isn't open to the public, so following along is going to take a whole lot of guesswork, some Twitter-scouring, and a healthy imagination.
Regardless, let's take a look at the teams involved.
A USL PDL side, Tucson have been around since 2010, facing off against the Portland Timbers U-23s on several occasions during the regular season and against the first team in the preseason during previous training stints in Arizona.
While the play at the same level as the Timbers U-23s, however, Tucson take a different approach to the PDL level, building their squad largely of semi-pro, post-college players, including Guamanian internationals Travis Nicklaw and Dallas Jaye. (Guam is No. 156 in the FIFA rankings, in case you were wondering.)
Like many PDL teams, Tucson is forced to deal with significant turnover year over year and the make of the rest of their roster is going to be difficult to pin down coming into this one, but expect plenty of names you have not previously heard of and maybe more than a few players named "Trialist" if the lineups are released.
Beyond being the home team in today's match, Tucson are the hosts of the Desert Diamond Cup and the Desert Friendlies, the latter of which the Timbers will be a part.
How the Timbers are going to approach this match against PDL side is still very much in question. The team, according to Caleb Porter, reported to camp more fit and ready to play than at any other time during his tenure with the Timbers, but it should still not be expected that anyone is going to go and play a full ninety minutes. Instead, two separate XI's each playing 45 minutes seems like the most likely approach from the Timbers, with three thirty minute periods also a possibility.
With Darlington Nagbe and Liam Ridgewell still out of two for USMNT and offseason loan duty, respectively, the Timbers will likely start things off with a lineup consisting of Adam Kwarasey in goal; Zarek Valentin, Jermaine Taylor, Nat Borchers, and Alvas Powell across the back line; Diego Chara, Diego Valeri, and Ned Grabavoy in the center of the pitch; and Lucas Melano, Fanendo Adi, and Dairon Asprilla across the front line. Chris Klute, who spent most of the Timbers' first week still receiving from meniscus surgery, seems likely to sit this one out, but still could potentially be ready to go before the team returns to Portland.
For the Timbers' second half, expect an XI that includes Jake Gleeson in goal; Andrew Thoma, Anthony Manning, Taylor Peay, and someone random on the back line (trialist Eric Avila, generally an attacking midfielder, played right back in a scrimmage on Wednesday); Jack Jewsbury, George Fochive, and Ben Zemanski in the center of the pitch; and Ben Polk, Jack McInerney, and Michael Seaton across the front line. The rest of the Timbers -- signed, unsigned, and T2 players all -- could then get a handful of minutes to finish out the match.
Finally, the possibility of additional trialists with the Timbers remains. Currently Avila, the Timbers' unsigned draft picks, and a young, unnamed Mexican goalkeeper looking to earn a spot on T2 are the only trialists that we know of with the team. The Timbers will certainly be looking at more players for the open spots on their currently anemic USL roster, and any trialists that show up will be a better bet for T2 than the first team.
Find somebody live tweeting the match? Somehow there yourself? Let us know in the comments so that everyone can follow along.
Watch it on: No where, but follow along on Twitter with @TimbersFC and @StumptownFooty
Kickoff: 10:30 a.m. PST at the Keno North Sports Complex