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Sounders vs. Timbers, preseason: The three biggest takeaways

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Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The preseason is for practice, but the two games played so far don't speak to a high quality of repetition. In two full games against Cascadia competition, the Seattle Sounders have yet to score a first-half goal without even a plurality of good shots from the presumptive first-team starters. The defense has been stout; Stefan Frei and Chad Marshall have stood up against some strong attacks. But the team is still having trouble connecting between layers in the new formation. The club has one more preseason game to find a fix before taking on one of the best clubs in North America.

Here are the three of the more notable performances from Saturday:

Cristian Roldan

The second-year professional has been doing a pretty convincing Osvaldo Alonso impersonation for two games now. Against reserves in both the Vancouver and Portland games, Roldan has played like he belonged with a higher level of competition. His ability to stop an attack and turn it right around for the Rave Green has been the main source of counter attacks for the good guys. The idea of Roldan playing alongside Alonso in that 4-3-3 set with two defensive mids -- or even replacing Alonso on occasion -- is pretty exciting.

Darwin Jones

After seeing very little playing time with the Sounders first team in 2015, Jones has been the only successful attacking presence in the team's preseason. The wide forward role seems to suit him, allowing Jones to take defenders 1-v-1 and utilize his quick feet and pace. That's what happened on the team's lone goal, where Jones simply dribbled around the defender and shot low near post. Yes, it's only preseason, but it's good to see Jones getting some confidence as its players like him the Sounders will be relying upon for depth this year.

Roberto Chen

From my vantage point, it was difficult to see Chen's defensive performance. He got up well on an Andreas Ivanschitz corner and attempted an awkward scorpion kick late in the second half. The replay shows that Chen was attempting to get back into position after some high pressure when Thoma put in Jack McInerney on the first goal, but probably should have done better to intercept the cross that led to McInerney's second. Sigi Schmid was non-committal when asked about Chen's performance, only saying that he'd need to watch the tape.

Both Oniel Fisher and Dylan Remick played their attacking fullback roles well in the first half, picking good moments to get forward and playing good possession games. Fisher had some spectacular tackles to repossess the ball.