The third draw in four preseason matches may raise some eyebrows after last season's record breaking number of ties but Frank Yallop was happier with the performance in this match than he was after Sunday's draw against Stabaek. "I thought the performance was very good in all departments," said Yallop after the match. "We created some chances and we moved the ball well. We used a number of different players in different spots so I was very happy with today's game."
Midfield seemed to have a better go in this game although there were some uneven and sloppy moments that go along with preseason contests. Michael Stephens and Chris Ritter started the game centrally in a flat 4-4-2 and Yallop liked some of what he saw there although the Fire improved considerably in the second half once Shaun Maloney and some of the starters were inserted. "Mike (Stephens) is a very good player. I thought him and Chris Ritter did a very good job in the middle of the field. What I liked about our subs in the game is that they made a difference but the guys that started the game did a really good job of containing a good side and creating some good chances," said Yallop.
Yallop also indicated that he is relatively close to settling on a line up for the opening match in Los Angeles on March 6. He's using these last three matches to round out the roster. "I'm going to evaluate these two games and evaluate the injury situation. I'm going into the Galaxy game with a game plan that I think is going to work. I'm pretty close (to setting a line up). I've got a good idea of what I'm going to do," he said.
That line up may not include David Accam, who was injured just before coming off last Sunday. Accam won't play in the preseason finale against Vancouver on Saturday and his availability for the opener hinges on his recovery over the weekend. "He's got a slight strain," said Yallop. "The first five days determine how bad it is. It's only day two or three right now. We'll know more in couple of days to see what the extent of it is. We got an MRI. It's a slight something there. Obviously if he's a quick healer he could be available but there's no chance we're going to risk him just for one match. We want to make sure he's ready to go and healthy and firing on all cylinders when he does get to play." Accam is currently back in Chicago receiving treatment three times daily.
Adailton left this match in the 30th minute after taking a knock to the head and the Fire will also be cautious with him. We don't think it's a concussion which is good but precautionary, we took him out of the game. We'll have to see how he's feeling the next couple of days,"said Yallop.
The Fire only managed to score on an own goal when Norberto Paparatto headed a corner kick into the Portland net in the 44th minute but Yallop still remained bullish on the team's outing. "I think today was a good indicator. Everybody was good. I thought our sharpness was back. The last game we played we were flat. For whatever reason it was we didn't come out of the gate quickly. We had a few days of practice. We got after what I wanted to accomplish and we played with the desire and the fight that I want out of my team."
The Timbers' lone goal came in the 22nd minute. A foul by Adailton just outside the box set up a free kick for the home side. Michael Nanchoff's attempt deflected off of Alex's arm and into Sean Johnson's net.
The final warm up is Saturday at 4:30 against the Whitecaps.
Fire line up
Bryce, Gehrig, Adailton (Larentowicz 30'), Doody (Jones 62')
Alex (Winchester 62'), Ritter, Stephens (Shipp 75'), Cochrane (Cocis 62')
Amarikwa (Maloney 62'), Igboananike (Edward 75')