Praise the lord, we scored twice from corners!
I sadly couldn’t watch the game last night, due to an early start this morning. I’ve just caught up on some of the highlights though, and forget Tom Hanks being at the game (though that is super cool), I was more amazed we scored not once, but twice from set pieces!
The first came after a long shot from Barry Bannan was tipped over the bar. The wee man, who has been very impressive this summer, took the corner, played it to the back post and Ciaran Clark was there to nod in. I was kinda hoping for a mass celebration from the team, even in a preseason game, but alas it was all rather subdued.
We then went to concede from a set-piece, but we’ll brush over that before retaking the lead from yet another corner. It was Bannan who once again played the ball in to the back post, Baker headed it back across the box before new boy Lowton headed in. After the last few seasons, to score from two set-pieces is heading towards unchartered territory, all very welcome though.
I didn’t see the majority of the game, so if anyone wants to offer some thoughts on how we played that be very welcome. The Portland commentators mentioned Bannan as a potential man of the match though. After going 2-1 up we conceded nearly immediately due to a super lucky goal that went in via a huge deflection. The game finished 2-2 and this meant penalties would decide the outcome.
All five were despatched by the Villa, which is always nice to see. Guzan saved the Timbers fifth pen, meaning young Samir Carruthers had the chance to win the game for us, which he duly did with arguably the best penalty of the lot. The fact all our players stepped up in front of a pretty loud Portland fan base made it all the more satisfying.
The US tour is winding to a close now, and I think the team are due back tomorrow. The transfer links are heating up, the players are continuing to talk about how good the atmosphere is and how excited they are and the fans are by and large happy. It’s been a extremely successful preseason to date, hoping it continues as we get closer to the big kick-off.