Portland Timbers 2 (a) Friendly
7 mins Georginio Wijnaldum slammed home a left wing centre from Rolando Aarons for his first goal in a Newcastle shirt 1-0
13 mins Lubo Satka suicidally surrendered possession outside his own box and Fatawa Safiu netted after Karl Darlow could only parry Kharlton Belmar's initial effort on goal. 1-1
23 mins Goalkeeper Darlow hesitated as a right wing free kick from Michael Nanchoff was delivered into his box and Anthony Manning easily headed home. 1-2
30 mins A feeble attempt to defend a corner kick saw the ball fall to Taylor Peay, and he was able to swivel before forcing the ball home from point blank range. 1-3
Half time: Timbers 3 Magpies 1
70 mins Nick Besler headed in a deep right wing centre from Jeanderson. 1-4
75 mins Gael Bigirimana teed up Rolando Aarons to convert with a neat bicycle kick from 10 yards out. 2-4
76 mins Within seconds Rolando Aarons shot home via the crossbar from a central position some way out. 3-4
Full time: Timbers 4 Magpies 3
"I think when you come on these trips,
10-11 days is very tough. The last two were very, very tough, so it’s proved
and I think you saw that in the first half. Good response in the second half.
Because we’re only fresh in a few weeks ago we need to get to know the
"We had six of seven who couldn’t play on this surface, and
quite a few played who we only wanted to have a small amount of time because
of troubles they get. In that respect, the key thing was that
everyone came through safely and no injuries. We’ve more or less done that.
"I think it was just a great measuring
stick for our guys, playing a quality team like that. On offense we got some
goals but two of those came off restarts, so the defenders jumping on that scene
as well. The work rate of the front runners to get the first goal with Kharlton (Belmar)
winning the ball and then pushing through.
“The expectations were what a tremendous
opportunity provided for our development team. We’re the reserves, we’re
young guys, we’re young professionals trying to get to the next level, and to
play a quality team like this our expectations were we were going to get a bit
of a lesson and it happened.
"It’s just another opportunity to get
experiences they couldn’t get anywhere else. I think what happened was that
one, particularly at the end, they learned to absorb the play and hang in there
and manage the game. That’s crucial. That adds a lot to your confidence, to be
pinned in and survive.
And despite taking an early lead through Georginio Wijnaldum, our glaring lack of physicality was exploited by TS (who play in the same league as Sacramento Republic) to score three times in seventeen minutes - all three directly stemming from defensive errors or omissions.
The collapse of a back four farcically featuring Shane Ferguson in the centre and a lack of urgency elsewhere saw Steve McClaren swap the stand for the touchline before the interval, as an unmarked Moussa Sissoko completely missed the ball in the box when a 44th minute free kick reached him.
Returning for the second period without the listless Papiss Cisse and recognised full back Daryl Janmaat one of four substitutes used, little changed though with United failing to fashion anything resembling a scoring chance and T2 hitting the bar through Michael Nanchoff.
What looked to be the final nail in our coffin saw Jeanderson centre, alleged marker Gael Bigirimana looking on in admiration as Nick Besler headed home with ease. A fight back of sorts did materialise though, with Rolando Aarons supplying two smart finishes within as many minutes to add an air of respectability to the scoreline. If there's one bonus from this tour, it's his evident fitness.
However there was no face-saving equaliser and United barely acknowledged their partisan support before disappearing from view with indecent haste. Although an enjoyable tour in terms of places visited and brilliant people encountered, the opposition and itinerary again looked poorly -conceived - the Timbers farce echoing the Orlando game in 2011 played on a rotten artificial surface.
Maybe next time we embark on an overseas schedule, some work will be done to ensure that more than lip service is paid to fans attending and we manage to arrange matches on a playing surface that we actually want to play on - but I know that's an old-fashioned way of looking at things.
(The late announcement of our tour and the cobbled together nature of it looks to have been caused at least in part by a failure to secure our Premier League future until the last game - meaning that the US visit remained in doubt until that point and our options were reduced).
A manager stressing the bonding and group building element of this tour and paying tribute to his backroom staff for efforts in sorting the logistics betrays the fact that we could have stayed far closer to home and played equivalent levels of opponent in between a training camp for the end result here - except for boosting our Avios points.
If there was an upside to our American Trilogy, it was in revitalising a North American fanbase who were suffering like their UK equivalents from the diminishing returns of watching the team (the Leicester away game was also a particular low point for those on the other side of the Atlantic, not least because it kicked off at 4.45am for fans based on the West Coast).
The anticipation of this visit saw a rekindling of US interest aided by social media and new fan groups popping up from Rhode Island to Miami. And although these were no more than kickabouts, the pride and pleasure of seeing "their" team in the flesh was still evident in the lads and lasses.
Call them whatever you like, but the one thing they certainly aren't is glory hunters - and the bulk of them have made at least pilgrimage to SJP. One sob story: try the couple from Texas whose first visit was the Charlton game in 2005, called off at 25 minutes notice. They've been back since.
A big thank you is due to everyone who donned black and white to support the lads in Milwaukee, Sacramento and Portland. There are just too many folks to mention who found their way into our company, but the kindness and hospitality they showed made it truly memorable. You guys rock.
Going Home - local heroes