PORTLAND — Wednesday’s visit by Spain’s Valencia to Jeld-Wen Field provided the Portland Timbers opportunities on several levels.
Among those opportunities were extended playing time for players who have been sidelined by injuries, and a taste of big-time soccer for some inexperienced players, including Camas native Brent Richards.
What it didn’t provide for the announced audience of 19,564 was a goal from the home team.
Valencia used a first-half goal from Aritz Adurtz to beat the Timbers 1-0 in an international exhibition.
The best chances for the Timbers came late in the game, including a shot from Bright Dike that hit the backside of Richards.
Timbers coach John Spencer used the second half to get minutes for youngsters, including Richards who entered the game in 68th minute, and was pleased with the effort that created several near-misses for the hosts.
Richards’ most memorable impact was when a Dike shot hit Richards and deflected wide of the goal. The play started with a nice move into the left side of the penalty area by Mike Fucito.
“When Fucito got the ball, I saw that Valencia’s left back was falling asleep. So I got behind him,” Richards said. “I was hoping for the ball from Fucito. It went to Bright and I found myself in Bright’s way. I just tried to make my self as small as possible.
“It’s a shame that I got in Bright’s way. That was not my intention at all.”
Richards said it was fun to get about 25 minutes against Valencia.
“I didn’t get the ball a whole lot tonight,” Richards said. “I could have done a few more things if I had gotten on the ball a bit more. That’s just me demanding the ball a bit more.”