The Portland Timbers had their 2017 MLS opening match against a new expansion team, Minnesota United last Friday evening. Playing in a sold out stadium with 21,144 fans at Providence Park, the Timbers made sure they gave their fans a match worth celebrating.
Within the first 14 minutes, Lawrence Olum scored after getting the ball from Andriuškevičius Vytas, who headed the ball into the box from a free kick off of Valeri. “Olum stuck his foot out and watched as his shot floated up and over Minnesota goalkeeper John Alvbage before dropping into the net to give Portland a 1-0 lead.”
Although Olum had the first goal of the night he was not the only one to score for the Timbers. Play-maker Diego Valeri and forward Fanendo Adi both had two goals each in the second half of the game to ultimately beat the Minnesota Loons 5-1.
What is particularly exciting is that the Timbers seem to have a very balanced and exciting attack this year as the goals scored were from a variety of players. Besides the players who did score goals, there were many assists from Valeri, Vytas, Sebastian Blanco and Darlington Nagbe.
Caleb Porter, the Timbers coach, was very pleased with how his team was performing performing. “It’s good to get [goals and assists] from different guys…We’re still going to always get probably the lion’s share from Adi and Valeri, but we need more goals and assists from the wingers and we’re getting those assists.” With the team picking up some new players this year like Blanco, Juan Guzman, Olum and Chance Meyers, the attack is starting off stronger than before.
Although Minnesota saw small numbers in terms of goals, they did manage to pick up their first goal in the Loon’s history in the 79 minute of the game from forward Christian Ramirez.
Porter originally didn’t feel bullet proof with his team going into half time when he mentioned “I do think it was a closer game than 5-1…That’s what I said to the guys, we have to, at 2-0, go for the jugular and make it three and put the game away.”
The boys heard Porter loud and clear and put away three more goals in the second half. “This group, when they want to score and they want to play aggressive, they’re scary,” Porter said.
As someone who was at the season opening game, I am very excited to see how the rest of the Timbers’ season will play out.