By Matthew Svilar, Post-Record staff writer
The Portland Timbers U23 team is still trying to find its stride.
Saturday’s defeat to the Seattle Sounders U23s at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas makes for three straight losses for the Timbers. Their last win occurred June 5, the only break in a string of seven winless games.
That June 5 game was against the Seattle Sounders U23s as well, but their most recent match-up ended differently. The game started well for the Timbers, with scoring opportunities coming in the 33rd minute from defender Peter Prescott and in the 39th minute from midfielder Jordan Jones. Neither were put away, and the first half ended scoreless.
The Timbers started the second half strong, with Jones scoring early in the 52nd minute. But the Timbers couldn’t keep their lead, and two quick goals by the Sounders in the last 20 minutes of play snuffed out Portland’s hopes for a win.
Earlier this month the U23s named Brett Jacobs, a veteran coach from the Colorado Rapids’ program, as its new head coach. Since arriving he’s had his work cut out for him, taking over during what has amounted to a difficult season.
“I think we’re all still trying to figure some things out on the team,” he said.
According to Jacobs, the coaching staff has just recently reached the point where it can put together a blueprint for how the team should play and how it should look.
“We’ve got players from all over,” he said. “It’s a challenge to manage all the different styles of play on the team.”
Most U23 teams consist of college players from all over the country, and sometimes international athletes as well. It can be difficult to not only schedule practice time, but also to create a style of play that is consistent with what players are taught on their college teams.
“On the team we’ve really been trying to develop that chemistry between the guys,” said Jones, a junior at Oregon State University.
Despite the result, coach Jacobs is hopeful about the team’s future.
“This was the best performance I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” he said. “I thought the local guys were outstanding.”
Those “local guys” are Anthony Macchione, Niko De Vera, Foster Langsdorf, Peter Prescott and Colin Partee, all graduates of Clark County high schools. All except Partee, the backup goalkeeper, started in Saturday’s match.
The Timbers U23 next match will be this Wednesday, June 29 against Lane United FC at Eugene, Oregon’s Willamalane Center.