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The Portland Timbers defeat Austin FC 1-0 to claim their first win of the season.

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After back-to-back draws against the New England Revolution and LAFC to start the year, the Portland Timbers claimed their first victory of the season with a 1-0 win over Austin FC.

Claudio Bravo’s suspension against LAFC last week saw the Timbers’ rookie draft pick Justin Rasmussen make his club debut at left back, despite a return to the matchday squad for Dario Zuparic, Larrys Mabiala, and Pablo Bonilla.

The opening 15 minutes of the game were relatively cagey, with both sides unable to retain possession for any sustained period. The best chance came in the 13th minute, when Yimmi Chara played the ball to Dairon Asprilla on the edge of the 18-yard box, but his powerful strike hit Jaroslaw Niezgoda and bounced out for an Austin goal kick.

The Timbers probably should have scored in the 24th minute of the game after a Niezgoda toe-poke sent Asprilla through on goal and one-on-one with the goalkeeper. But, instead of taking the chance with his left foot, Asprilla cut back onto his right, which allowed the shot to be blocked. The rebound then fell to Niezgoda, who did well to bring the ball onto his right foot before slicing a shot wide of the net.

Austin FC thought they had taken the lead in the 32nd minute through Sebastian Driussi, who had an unmarked tap-in at the doorstep. Luckily for the Timbers, the linesman’s flag was raised straight away for offside.

The Timbers again came close to opening the scoring in the 40th minute — this time through Bill Tuiloma. The center back did well to get a glancing header onto an inch-perfect cross from Justin Rasmussen, but the outside of the post denied the New Zealand international and kept the score level heading into the break.

All things considered, the first half was an extremely even one. Austin FC outshot the Timbers 8-7, and controlled 59 percent of the possession. However, for my money, the Timbers had the better of the chances between the sides.

Portland would finally find their breakthrough goal in the 62nd minute of the match, when Tuiloma got on the end of a Yimmi Chara free kick. Tuiloma timed his run to perfection to get in front of Austin FC’s Ruben Gabrielsen, and his diving header found the back of the net after he struck the woodwork in the first half.

After the goal, Austin FC applied heavy pressure on the Timbers goal, but Tuiloma, Zac McGraw, and Aljaz Ivacic stood tall and defended extraordinarily well. In the 74th minute, Giovanni Savarese brought Sebastian Blanco and new signing David Ayala off of the bench, which gave the Timbers some much needed possession and relieved the pressure applied by Austin FC in the second half.

In the end, Tuiloma’s header in the 62nd minute was enough to give the Timbers all three points, and their first win of the 2022 MLS campaign. The defense once again played extremely well under a lot of Austin FC pressure, and the three debutants — Rasmussen, Ayala, and Gutierrez — all looked very comfortable on the pitch.

It was a good win from the Timbers against a very strong side; one they will hopefully be able to build on.

The Timbers travel down to Texas for their next match against FC Dallas on Saturday, March 19. Kickoff in Frisco, TX is slated for 5:30 p.m. PST.



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Gameday Guide: Your complete timeline for the Rapids’ Sunday doubleheader 

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2:00-5:00 P.M. Happy Hour at Hamburger Mary’s

Start your gameday off right at Hamburger Mary’s for drink specials and giveaways! Individuals have the option to bus from Hamburger Mary’s to DICK’S Sporting Goods Park at 4:00. The bus will return individuals to Hamburger Mary’s after the match. Purchase bus tickets here.

5:00 P.M. C38 Pride Tailgate

Join C38 for their Pride tailgate before making your way into the stadium! All are welcome to enjoy the pregame festivities and get hype to watch the Burgundy Boys with Colorado’s best supporters’ section.

Countdown to kickoff starts now! Welcome the Rapids to the pitch with hype videos, lineups and special Pride features.

6:00 PM Colorado Rapids vs Seattle Sounder FC Kickoff

Come on you Burgundy Boys!

9:10 PM Rapids 2 vs Tacoma Defiance Kickoff

Don’t head out just yet! Colorado’s MLS NEXT Pro side Rapids 2 will make their DICK’S Sporting Goods Park debut directly at the conclusion of the Rapids’ matchup with Seattle.





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2022 MLS season: Fire standing behind struggling goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina

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Gabriel Slonina has made his decision. He’s going with the United States men’s national team.

Slonina, 18, announced Friday on social media he is committing to the US over Poland. A dual national, Slonina was recently named to Poland’s roster for its upcoming UEFA Nations League matches but has chosen to cast his lot with the United States program. Poland clearly wanted Slonina badly, as shown by coach Czesław Michniewicz traveling to Chicago to meet with him and present him a jersey.

Those overtures were rejected, and Slonina explained why. Though he discussed his pride in his heritage and what it means to be Polish, Slonina said “my heart is American.”

“This country has given me and my family all the opportunities I could ask for,” Slonina posted. “It’s pushed me and supported me through good and bad. I understand the privilege of wearing the badge, and the only time I’ll put my head down is to kiss it. America is home and that’s who I’m going to represent.”

Because of his age, FIFA rules allow Slonina to play in three matches for a national team before being bound to a country, so it’s possible he could change his mind in the future.

Slonina is part of a crowded US goalkeeping picture that includes Manchester City’s Zack Steffen, the Revolution’s Matt Turner (who will join English club Arsenal this summer) and former Fire standout Sean Johnson, currently the captain of reigning MLS Cup champion New York City FC. Poland is also strong in net, led by Wojciech Szczęsny, the starter for Italian powerhouse Juventus.

But just because Slonina, who’s represented the US at youth levels, has made this decsion doesn’t mean all his major choices are complete. Slonina’s been linked with major European clubs, and with their transfer windows opening soon, the young goalie might be forced to decide between famous teams in the near future.

Slonina’s recent play for the Fire has raised questions about whether those outside factors have taken a toll. Last Saturday, Slonina’s late giveaway led to the Fire’s 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati. Then on Wednesday against the Red Bulls, Slonina whiffed on an easy save for New York’s second goal, overcommitted on their stoppage-time equalizer and could’ve easily given away a penalty after contacting an opposing attacker in the Fire box.

After the Red Bulls match, coach Ezra Hendrickson was asked whether the external noise was affecting Slonina’s concentration.

“Maybe outside of the game but in the game I don’t think he’s thinking about all that stuff. He just happened to make some mistakes,” Hendrickson said. “You know, we all make mistakes as soccer players and it just happened to be that in that position of his, your mistakes are more dangerous, are more costly than someone missing a goal or something like that. But he’ll get out of it and we’ll make sure that he stays positive and stays confident.”

Perhaps that will be easier for Slonina with one major decision out of the way.





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Monarchs Spotlight: Tyrone Mondi – rsl.com

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Monarchs Spotlight: Tyrone Mondi  rsl.com



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