Portland and Seattle produce some thrilling shootouts every year, but Wednesday night’s affair was not one of them.
In their first match since MLS Cup 2021, the Timbers played the Sounders to a stalemate. About 2,000 fans showed up to create a surprisingly loud atmosphere at Kino North Stadium in Tucson, AZ on Jan. 26th.
"They battled through the entire match."— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) January 27, 2022
Gio Savarese talks about the #TimbersAcademy players who stepped in last night, and being back in the game environment. #RCTID @OldTrapper pic.twitter.com/MHYUbvxcGY
Both squads heavily rotated a mix of first-teamers, academy players, draftees, and trialists. The Timbers gave 22 different players minutes.
“For young players, it’s a good thing to get them involved in these types of matches,” head coach Gio Savarese said. “It’s exciting to see our young players being able to play a match like this.”
Goalkeeper is maybe the position to watch in preseason, with David Bingham and Aljaz Ivacic competing for the starting job. Ivacic played the first half and Bingham the second.
Dairon Asprilla captained Portland. The full list of players, taken from the Timbers’ official recap, is as follows:
POR: Asprilla (Gutierrez %, 45), Bahachille #, Ferguson ^ (McDowd ^, 86), Ivacic (Bingham, 45), Loría (Bodily, 45), McCartney % (Dunne ^, 86), McGraw (Haugli %, 60), S. Moreno (Ikoba, 33), Niezgoda (Duran ^, 45), Toia # (Rasmussen %, 69), Wray ^ (A. Moreno ^, 74)
^ academy player
# non-roster invitee
Who played well?
The match was not streamed, but we can glean some information from both teams’ tweets and recaps. Ironically, the only account posting videos of the match belongs to the hosts, FC Tucson.
It looked like Seattle had the bulk of the chances, but this one from 2021 draftee Diego Gutierrez may have been the night’s best opportunity.
Zac McGraw had a solid night, with a pair of clearances in the first half and a 60-minute stint at center back. He also earned a post-match interview.
One name to keep an eye on is trialist Abraham Bahachille, Portland’s only player to go a full 90 minutes. Bahachille is a 20-year-old Venezuelan midfielder who most recently played for Metropolitanos in the Venezuelan first tier.
Academy player Mitch Ferguson and 2022 draftee Dawson McCartney both went 86 minutes.
Portland face Sporting Kansas City next on Feb. 3rd at 10 a.m. at Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex in Chandler, AZ. There will be no stream for the match.