The Portland Timbers played with a reserve unit Wednesday night against Jamaican side Portmore United. And the second team almost did enough to give Portland a preseason victory at Providence Park.
Timbers midfielder Michael Nanchoff gave Portland a 1-0 in the 75th minute.
Portland gave up a foul in the penalty box, though, and Portmore converted the penalty kick to escape with a 1-1 draw before an announced crowd of 10,091.
We did well to get the goal, Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. The one disappointment is we let our guard down after we got the goal
After getting blown out 5-1 by the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday, Portmore used Wednesday as an opportunity to try to save face. The visitors sat back the entire match, trying more not to concede a goal than to actually win. It made for a terrifically boring night.
It was kind of tough with the way Portmore played, Porter said. I felt a little bad for the fans. It was a preseason game, and there was really nothing to lose for either group. Portmore sat nine guys 30 yards from goal, with one guy for the counter. If its a tournament I can understand that. But, its a preseason game.
"They were playing really negatively (field-position wise) with no intention of winning the game, which is really kind of disappointing.
With the draw moved the Timbers to 2-1-3.
The night was bitterly cold and colder still because of a strong wind whipping through the stadium. The Jamaican side looked as if it were freezing all night. Every one of Portmore Uniteds players wore long sleeves and gloves.
In the 75th minute, Portland defender Rauwshan McKenzie took the ball at midfield and sent a long pass into the final third. The pass found the head of Portland striker Frederic Piquionne, who redirected the ball to Schillo Tshuma.
After taking the ball down to the ground, Tschuma sent a short pass to Nanchoff. From the top of the 18-yard-box, Nanchoff sent a screamer to the right post that Portmore United goalkeeper Andrew Weber did not have a prayer of stopping.
We were able to get a nice sequence together, Nanchoff said. Rauwshan played a nice ball in to Piquionne, who made an intelligent flick to Schilo, who then made a nice layoff. Luckily, I was able to pounce on it and put it in the back of the net.
In the 82nd minute, Timbers striker Jorge Villafana was called for a foul in the box, and Portmore United was awarded a penalty kick.
Porter disagreed with the call.
It wasnt a PK, he said.
Portmore striker Francois Swaby lined up for the PK. He sent the ball down the middle of the goal as Timbers goalkeeper Andrew Weber dove left.
Portland was the more dangerous side throughout the night, getting off 22 shots and putting five balls on goal compared to nine shots by Portmore United, which had two on frame. Portland also earned 12 corner kicks to one by Portmore United.
Portland dominated throughout the first half. The Timbers moved the ball easily down the pitch and kept possession in the final third for long periods of time. Portland had several clever crosses into the box that easily could have turned into goals. But the Timbers could not get an attacker on the end of ball.
The Timbers will conclude the preseason with the final match of the Rose City Invitational at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against the Whitecaps.
Porter said he hopes the Timbers' first team replicates its performance Sunday night in a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes and can create a little more quality in the final third.
Well get (midfielder) Diego Valeri in the lineup, Porter said. Im excited about that. Weve stressed with that group that wed like to play the same way we played against the Earthquakes, but have a little bit more precision. The final third is usually the piece that takes a little bit more time.
"Well see how the chemistry works in the front four (players). If we play like we did last game and do a bit better in the final third and manage the set piece, well be fine.