Sounders lose 1-Nil to Portland in match populated by non-roster players

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

No match of 2013 will have a result less important than this one, still the Timbers come away with a victory over a Seattle roster of mainly trialists, invitees and draft picks. There were some positives in Seattle's play, but not many.

The only goal of the match came when the Portland Timbers won a corner kick and kept pounding away at the goal mouth. They would eventually score after a Ford save and Yedlin clearance stopped earlier attempts on goal. Much of the game was similar as the Seattle Sounders were out-of-synch and pushing deep reserves and non-roster players against a lineup much closer to starting XI from Porter's side.

In the first half Sigi Schmid only fielded four regulars (Scott, Gonzalez, Rosales, Zakuani), two players battling to become a regular forward (Estrada, Ochoa), the backup keeper and two non-roster players. Steve Zakuani showed some burst speed both from a standstill and running onto throughballs, but not often enough. Djimi Traore started at centerback and did well reading the game regularly intercepting passes. His clearances left something to be desired, but he certainly deserves a longer look. Lebogang Moloto played well enough as a box-to-box man winning the ball, and passing adequetely, but would too often try to use the dribble rather than the pass. Zach Scott was under heavy pressure and defended well. Marcus Hahnemann played well in goal when he was tested.

Josh Ford led the notable action in the second half. Despite giving up the goal he showed strong reactions to pressure and was willing to throw his body into Dike. That second half was an even weaker lineup with only two players having played a minute of MLS play or better (only one with the Sounders). It was a festival of rookies, veterans without playing time and invitees. For long stretches the lack of familiarity was clear. Dylan Remick was pushed into use in the first half as a CDM and in the second had time at left back and left mid. He looked best as a left mid. Leo Lelis had the speed and composure to go up against the much more expierenced Portland offense.

DeAndre Yedlin's faults were in his free kicks (they were bad) and trying to push forward when there was no opening. His best run forward was a build-up involving two other players with quick one touch passes between them. Jennings Rex floated the final cross past the forwards though.

The loss has no bearing on the future and for a first match of the preseason the focus of the coaching staff will be not on the result, but how players played. Several of the depth players showed that they belong at that level, none showed that they will be starting over the mostly absent First XI. Sounders FC flies back this evening and their next practice session is on Friday.

Rating the non-roster players;
Won a contract: None
Expected to stay: Traore, Remick, Lelis, Essame, Moloto
Bubble: Rex
Expected to be cut: Thomas, Bowen

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