PORTLAND — International exhibition matches provide a bonus for Timbers season-ticket holders who are interested, and a chance for lesser used players to get some meaningful competition.
Jose Valencia took advantage of his chance on Wednesday, scoring the Portland goal in a 1-0 win over English Premier League team Norwich City at Jeld-Wen Field.
Valencia converted in the 52nd minute, sliding the ball home after Kalif Alhassan intercepted a pass to create a two-on-one chance for Portland.
It was fitting that the young Colombian scored the goal. He was the most dangerous Timbers player during his 71 minutes on the field, and narrowly missed on several other chances prior to his goal.
All 18 players who suited up for the Timbers saw the field, as coach Caleb Porter balanced his desire to entertain an audience announced at 18,553 with keeping players fresh for Saturday’s Major League Soccer match at San Jose. Porter was pleased to get the win, and more pleased to get meaningful minutes for younger players.
“I think it shows our depth and it shows our quality from player one through 26,” Porter said, adding that he was pleased that the club played its style of soccer without many regulars in the lineup.
Porter said Alvas Powell showed promise in his Timbers’ debut. The 19-year-old Jamaican played all 90 minutes at right back and survived an early yellow card. The coach also praised center back Rauwshan McKenzie’s play against the physical Norwich City forwards.
Milos Kocic made three saves in the first half and Jake Gleeson, in his first action with the Timbers this season, made two after halftime for the shutout.
This was the eighth international exhibition the Timbers have hosted in their three seasons, and likely to be the last for a while. Timbers president Merritt Paulson tweeted during Wednesday’s match that the team is likely to have an agreement next season to share reserve players with a minor league professional club, which would make in-season exhibition games difficult to schedule.