BY MIKE DONOVAN
PORTLAND, Ore.- Throughout the 2013 season, Caleb Porter has mentioned the importance of having depth up-and-down his roster. Wednesday night that depth was on display as the Timbers took care of Norwich City FC in a friendly.
Sandwiched in between two away league matches, the Portland Timbers knocked off Premier League side Norwich City Wednesday night, 1-0 at Jeld-Wen Field. Jose Adolfo Valencia had the lone goal in a match that featured chippy play and a total of 36 fouls.
“I think it says a lot about our club that we were able to get a result,” Porter said. “Especially considering we didn’t have six regulars who didn’t even dress.”
In stark contrast to the young lineup that included several academy players in the Monarcas Morelia friendly at the beginning of July, Porter’s team Wednesday consisted only of players on the current Timbers active roster.
The friendly was the second one in 21 days and the last one Portland will play in 2013. While the result will not show up on any standings, Porter believes that the exhibitions have importance.
“I enjoy every time we have an opportunity to play the game and I know the guys do as well,” Porter said. “We’re going to play to win, but that was not the primary purpose. The primary purpose was to build minutes for certain guys, keep guys sharp.”
One player that Porter specifically mentioned was Rodney Wallace, who has played just once for the Timbers since the beginning of June due to his call up to the Costa Rican National Team. Wallace went 45 minutes on Wednesday, his first action with the Timbers since June 23.
POWELL MAKES FIRST TEAM DEBUT
Jamaican International Alvas Powell, who was signed by the Timbers on loan from Portmore United FC in late June, made his debut with the first team Wednesday. The 19-year-old played the full 90 minutes at right back.
“I thought he showed some really nice signs of a player that can be a key guy for us down the road, whether it’s this year or not,” Porter said. “He’s got some tools, he’s athletic and he looked composed for a 19-year-old kid.”
Powell looked composed at times, especially in the air, but on a few occasions Powell seemed to be a second late on tackles. He was given a yellow card just 17 minutes into the match and delivered a crunching tackle a few minutes later that drew the ire of the Norwich City bench.
After the two tackles, captain Will Johnson talked to the youngster and Powell was not called for a foul for the rest of the match. Porter, for one, didn’t mind Powell’s aggression.
“It shows he’s not shy. I got a lot of good pictures out of a guy like him today,” Porter said.
Powell has five caps for Jamaica and most recently played for the Reggae Boyz in their three June World Cup Qualifiers.
CHARA TOE INJURY
Timbers midfielder Diego Chara suffered a toe injury in the Timbers 0-0 draw with the Philadelphia Union and is considered “day-to-day.” Chara has not practiced since the injury and was seen wearing a small boot on his foot at Timbers practices earlier this week.
Chara has started every match this season for the Timbers and has developed a partnership with Will Johnson in the center of the midfield. While Chara hasn’t scored in 54 MLS games, his box-to-box presence would be missed by Portland if he was unable to play against San Jose on Saturday.
If Chara does miss a match, he is likely to be replaced by Ben Zemanski, who has played in 16 games this season, the majority of which were in the midfield.