Spencer: LA were a quality test for Portland
The Portland Timbers concluded a training stint in Southern California on Tuesday by playing the Los Angeles to a 1-1 draw at the Home Depot Center. It was the Timbers’ second preseason exhibition and followed a 1-1 draw against the Ventura County Fusion last Friday.
“This was a very good test against a well-organized team with a lot of experience and quality,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said. “I’m happy with the 90 minutes.”
Of notice in the match was the return of goalkeeper Adin Brown, who played who played his first significant minutes in more than a year. He played the entire first half and kept the likes of Landon Donovan, Juan Pablo Angel and Chad Barrett off the board.
“He did very well,” Spencer said of Brown. “I thought his communication with the defense was good.”
Brown last played five minutes of a match in September and missed the rest of the year with injuries. Tuesday’s scrimmage was largely a confidence-booster for him.
“It was fantastic,” said Brown, who was encouraged by his teammates’ play. “It felt good out there and it’s been a long time.
“It was a great building game for us, to get to where we want to be. We showed heart and determination out there.”
Both teams scored in the second half. In the 48th minute, Bryan Jordan connected with teammate Paolo Cardozo on a cross from the right flank. The Uruguayan scored from seven yards out to give LA the lead.
Two minutes later, Brian Umony, a trialist from Uganda, found a loose ball after a corner kick and equalized for Portland with a shot from just outside the six-yard box. Umony had a chance to score his second in the 60th minute, but was denied in a one-on-one by LA goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Spencer called the game against the Fusion last week “just a runabout” and a chance to play in the uniform for the first time. But the match against LA, he said, was a bit more serious.
“When you play a very good team like the Galaxy, you start to judge your guys against top MLS players,” Spencer said. “We’re still way off with fitness level, individually and collectively.”
The bigger issue for the Timbers, though, is the ongoing process of building chemistry.
“Guys are just trying to figure each other out and figure out which role is right for them,” said Brown. “We have a fairly young team and it’s important to get on the same page quickly. I think we’re gelling more and more as days go on.”