Diego Valeri, making his debut in a Portland Timbers kit after arriving on loan from Argentine side Club Atlético Lanús, immediately asserted his presence in a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids in Tucson. Valeri, Portland’s replacement for Kris Boyd as their Designated Player, whipped in a tight free kick from outside the left corner of the penalty area in the 28th minute for Portland’s first goal of the match. He also helped Portland control the flow of possession, passing well and acclimating with his new teammates before being subbed out at halftime.
“One of the first things that coach told us on the first day is we need to treat the ball very well,” Valeri said through a translator after the game. “Just try to move the ball around, work on the timing of the game and basically being able to control games by managing the possession of the ball.”
Kalif Alhassan and Jose Valencia also took that message to heart, as each scored for the Timbers in the second half. Valencia set up Alhassan’s goal in the 63rd minute, and netted his own in the 79th.
Colorado had some promising play, as 2013 draft pick Kory Kindle connected with SuperDraft selection Deshorn Brown combined to score the Rapids’ only goal. They get a chance to rebound against the Houston Dynamo on Friday as the Tucson friendlies continue through Feb. 5.
Did you miss the match? Watch the full replay courtesy of MLS!