Timbers lose preseason finale
The New England Revolution overcame an early deficit to beat the Portland Timbers 3-1 on Saturday in the final game of the Timbers Preseason Tournament in front of 13,920 fans at Providence Park.
What it means: Portland finishes preseason 4-2, losing the final two matches of the exhibition season. The Timbers now prepare for the first counting game of their 10th MLS season on March 1 at home against Minnesota United.
How they scored: Diego Chara pounced on a rebound and placed an 18-yard left-footed shot inside the right post in the 29th minute. The opportunity fell to Chara after Felipe Mora intercepted a New England back pass. Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner blocked Mora's chip attempt but the ball fell to Chara.
For New England, Gustavo Bou scored in the 42nd minute and in the third minute of first-half stoppage time from the penalty spot. Bou then sent a cross to an unmarked Adam Buska for the third Revolution goal six minutes into the second half.
The takeaway: It's unwise to make many grand pronouncements about a preseason match, but this one felt an awful lot like many of the 2019 home games with Portland struggling to create high-quality chances against a well-organized opponent. The Timbers were on top of the Revs early and created some nice opportunities from their high pressure. But on the tying goal Bou was completely unmarked at the back post — a common mistake from the Timbers this week. It appeared Mora was fouled to create the turnover that led to the Revs' penalty kick, but the Timbers were pinned deep in their own end and paid for trying to escape up the middle of the field. Once New England had the lead, the Timbers scoring chances were minimal.
Starting lineup: Goalkeeper Steve Clark; defenders Jorge Moreira, Larrys Mabiala, Dario Zuparic, Jorge Villafana; central midfielders Diego Chara, Cristhian Paredes; attacking midfielders Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco, Yimmi Chara; forward Mora. Andy Polo replaced Paredes in the 66th minute; Jeremy Ebobisse replaced Yimmi Chara in the 66th; Dairon Asprilla replaced Valeri in the 78th minute and Eryk Williamson replaced Mora in the 87th minute.
Coach Giovanni Savarese said: "It's my responsibility to fix (defending breakdowns), to make sure that we're better, to make sure that we're better prepared for next week and we need to start the new season with the right foot forward. So these are good wakeup calls for everybody. But, as I said, it falls into my responsibility to make sure that we're stronger and better (defending) because with the ball we're very good, excellent. It's the other way that we need to be much better."
Also Saturday: A late goal from Fredy Montero gave Vancouver a 2-1 win over Minnesota United in the first of two games at Providence Park.
Up next: The Timbers open their 10th season in MLS at 4:30 p.m. March 1 at Providence Park against Minnesota United.
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