The Portland Timbers concluded their preseason Costa Rican tour this past week and are leaving with three wins and some assurance. Here are three takeaways from their trip as the 2020 season nears.
Anticipation has been building in the Rose City this offseason. And given the work conducted, it is completed warranted. After a lackluster end to the 2019 season which saw a first-round exit from the MLS Cup playoffs and the dismissal of Designated Player Brian Fernandez, all eyes were on the Portland Timbers front office to deliver. It seems as though they have, bringing in seven new players across the offseason.
So, with a reinforced squad that still managed to finish sixth in the West last season, fans can’t wait to see the 2020 product hit the field at home inside Providence Park, starting this Sunday. But before their 2020 preseason tournament between the Timbers, Minnesota United, the New England Revolution and the Vancouver Whitecaps, the club faced off against three teams from the Costa Rican Liga FPD in Costa Rica. They left Central America with three wins and some assurance about their 2020 roster.
Here are three takeaways from the Portland Timbers’ trip south.
3. The backline got a little thinner
There were a couple of additions this offseason to the backline which may be a low-key area to address while the transfer window is open until May. But even with those additions, the Portland Timbers will be playing the next couple of months a man short as center-back Bill Tuiloma will reportedly miss the next two months after suffering a right calf strain in training camp back in late January.
The 24-year-old from New Zealand was looking to increase his role in 2020 after a productive 2019 that saw him play 1,919 minutes in 25 games which led to a multi-year contract extension for him to stay in Portland for the coming year.
His loss hurts given his production last season, but it’s not season-ending and with offseason additions club-wide and players who are very multi-positional across the team, Portland should be fine.