Portland Timbers show impressive chemistry in attack in 2-1 preseason win over Vancouver Whitecaps

If Wednesday's match is any indication, the Portland Timbers are going to have an exciting attack this season. The Timbers top available lineup demonstrated impressive creativity and chemistry on the field Wednesday as they beat the Vancouver Whitecaps...

Portland Timbers show impressive chemistry in attack in 2-1 preseason win over Vancouver Whitecaps

If Wednesday's match is any indication, the Portland Timbers are going to have an exciting attack this season.

The Timbers top available lineup demonstrated impressive creativity and chemistry on the field Wednesday as they beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 in a preseason game in front of 10,286 fans at Providence Park.  

"I thought in that first half, possession, control was definitely the best we've had in terms of the preseason games," Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. "We still need to get a lot better, but I was pleased."

Porter made the decision to start his top available lineup in the game and play the majority of his starting 11 for the full 90 minutes for the first time this preseason.

While it's unfair to read too much into a preseason game and Vancouver was missing a few key players, the Timbers starting 11 looked ready for the regular season Wednesday night.

Even early in the game, the Timbers were able to quickly create some dangerous chances through their dominance in the midfield and with their ability to string together crisp passes. 

Diego Valeri headed-home Portland's first goal of the game in the 26th minute after Darlington Nagbe found Vytas on the flank and the left back sent a pinpoint cross into the box. The Timbers strung together 15 consecutive passes in the lead-up to the goal.

The interplay between Nagbe and Vytas on the left wing was once again key in Portland's second goal. Nagbe took a touch toward the center of the pitch in the 28th minute before slotting a pass off to Vytas on the wing. Vytas sent a cross into the box for Fanendo Adi, who converted to give the Timbers a 2-0 lead.

"Vytas looks more settled this year," Porter said. "I think he has had a really good preseason. He's doing what we thought he'd do, getting in the attack, defending 1v1, playing box-to-box."

While the Timbers were unable to find another goal, they continued to have impressive moments of possession around the box in the second half and created chances through their ability to string together passes in the attack throughout the game. The Timbers outshot the Whitecaps 16-2 in the match.

"We have the personnel to be able to play in the way we want to play," Porter said. "Be a passing team, be a pressing team, decide the game with the ball, decide the game by winning the ball high up the pitch."

Vancouver closed the gap in the second half when Cristian Techera scored on a free kick from the top of the box in the 80th minute.

The match did include one very concerning moment. Valeri took a ball to the face from close-range in the second half and immediately went to the ground. After being evaluated by trainers, Valeri left the game. 

"I think he's okay," I don't know for sure, but I talked with the trainer and the doctor and it seemed like he was fine," Porter said.

-- Jamie Goldberg | jgoldberg@oregonian.com

503-853-3761 | @jamiebgoldberg

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