Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Benvenuto Milano

What appears to be the most anticipated of the Portland Timbers' three "friendlies" this year is upon us with the nearing arrival of AC Milan Primavera at PGE Park. As always with these sorts of affairs, let's hope for an entertaining event without injury.

Exhibition matches against clubs from other leagues are always challenging from a prediction standpoint. Will it be even, fairly even, lopsided, etc. Tonight's matchup is particularly difficult to peg. With AC Milan attached to this junior side's moniker, they are given instant credibility. But a squad of teenagers playing thousands of miles from home on the bizarre NeXturf surface at PGE Park may as well be playing on the moon.

On the other hand, many of these Italian lads are the future best and brightest (albeit youthful) from one of the most storied clubs in the world. They are all a phone call away from joining the current Champions League victor. Could they be so technically superior that the average USL-1 reserve squad starting 11 gets embarrassed in front of their home crowd? Or will the final result appear as if the Timbers played Alyssa Milano instead?

Word to the wise: Don't google Alyssa Milano in a public place and hit the images tab.

What will be Portland's starting lineup tonight? With a league match on Thursday, you can bet we won't see the regulars playing 90 minutes. But I'd guess most of them see some action in order to knock the rust off from another 10-day stretch away from meaningful competition.

Speaking of Thursday's match - it will be called by my uberproducer John Strong as I head to New Mexico for a family wedding. John entered the real world a few days back and will get to see a really good side in Montreal. The Timbers will look for a win at home, but I'd gladly take a point and call the season series good at 1-0-1.

In second round U.S. Open Cup news, the ATTR will be making the trip up to Starfire for next Tuesday's showdown with Seattle. Unlike round one, the match will be carried live (audio only) at portlandtimbers.com.

Well, I'd better get my game face on. Ciao-

Image courtesy MLB.com

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