The score of this game shows one of the unique qualities of soccer. There was only one goal so just by looking at the score you might think the game was close. But according to stories on the game from newspapers and bloggers who were there the Timbers were much better than the Sounders. This situation, where a team that plays much better than their opponent but doesn't blow them out, happens often in soccer. You will want to go beyond the score and read reports on the game, check the stats (such as possession, shots, and corner kicks), and see some highlights of the game to really get a sense of how a team did.
Portland has one more game in Arizona, against FC Tucson, the U-23 club that is hosting these games. They play Friday at 10 am and you can watch online at portlandtimbers.com.
There are several players new to the team this year, and we'll be looking at them as we approach the start of the season on March 3. I'm going to start with the newcomer who most fans agree is the making the biggest impression, Diego Valeri. Valeri is a 26-year-old midfielder from Argentina. As a midfielder his role on the team is to pass the ball to the forwards and get then in a position to score. This is a key position and one of the reasons the Timbers struggled last year was the performance of the midfield when attacking the goal. Those who have been watching the preseason games say he's strong, smart, and makes good decisions with the ball. He also scored a brilliant free kick goal in the win against Colorado last Tuesday.
Next week I'll be back with a report on the Timbers' game against FC Tucson and a look at some more new Timbers.