Timbers defeat Sporting KC in opening pre-season game
By Adam Booker
On a day when snow fell in Portland, The Timbers played their first of four pre-season games this winter ahead of the start of the 2023 MLS Season in February, beating Sporting KC by a score of 1-0. The game was played behind close doors in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.
With the opening weekend of MLS play now just over one month away, head coach Gio Savarese picked a fairly strong lineup for the friendly, looking to get minutes into the legs of some of his starters right from the off. With the notable exclusions of Evander, Sebastian Blanco, Diego Chara, Aljaz Ivacic, Larrys Mabiala, Claudio Bravo, and Dairon Asprilla, here is how the green and gold lined up...
The scoring was opened by Brazilian forward Nathan Fogaça in the 45th minute with a superb overhead kick. Fogaça comes into the new campaign with added motivation after having his Timbers contract extended just over a week ago, keeping him in green and gold through 2023 with an option for 2024. The 23-year-old joined the Timbers first team last season after short spell with T2 in 2022. As center-forward remains a relatively open spot in Gio Savarese's squad for the upcoming season, a stunning goal in the opening pre-season friendly is a fantastic way for Fogaça to kick off the year.
It was a relatively uneventful game after the Nathan goal by all accounts, as Savarese's men held on to win their opening friendly of the pre-season 1-0.
Next up, the Timbers will head to Southern California to take place in the Coachella Valley Invitational. In Indio, the Cascadia club will square off with LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, and NYCFC before returning to Portland for thr start of the regular season. On February 25, the Timbers will welcome Sporting KC to Providence Park on opening day.