After a career that has taken him from Inter Milan to Manchester United to Arsenal to Werder Bremen, Mikael Silvestre might be the next big name to land in America after what has been a successful preseason trial with the Portland Timbers. The 35-year-old central defender, making his second start of the preseason for the Timbers, proved his worth with a second-half goal that stood up as the winner in Portland’s 1-0 victory over their Cascadia Cup rivals from Seattle.
Portland enjoyed the bulk of the opportunities throughout the match, playing their first-team lineup from the outset in order to see how all their new acquisitions are integrating into the starting side. Silvestre, who helped press the possession forward from his rearguard position, showed the savvy that had him starring with some of the biggest clubs in Europe throughout his career. While they would be denied by Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann in the first half, the French defender eventually made Seattle pay for their lackluster marking.
Just after the hour mark, the Timbers finally found the back of the net. Whipping in a corner kick, a mad scramble ensued in front of the Seattle goal. Goalkeeper Josh Ford, who spelled Hahnemann after halftime, saved the initial shot but coughed up a rebound. The second attempt was headed off the line by defender DeAndre Yedlin. Silvestre, tracking the ball despite the chaos, collected the second rebound and fired home from close range.
Portland would miss several quality chances throughout the second half, with forward Bright Dike and midfielder Danny Mwanga nearly adding to the score. As the full whistle blew, though, a combination of strong defense and opportunistic offense had yielded the first clean sheet of the preseason for the Timbers. Seattle remains in Tucson after their first preseason friendly of 2013 to take on the New England Revolution on Feb. 13, while Portland faces host team FC Tucson on Friday.
Did you miss the match? Watch the full replay courtesy of MLS!