Portland Timbers (Second team) 4 (Fatawu 13, Manning 24, Peay 30, Besler 70)

Newcastle United 3 (Wijnaldum 5, Aarons 75, 76)

Purely in terms of entertainment this game contained more than the previous three pre season friendlies combined, though exactly how much Steve McClaren learnt from this game is anybody’s guess.

When I saw Newcastle’s starting eleven I struggled to work out just who was playing where.

On the surface it looked as though the new Newcastle Head Coach had very early on accepted his new team was going to be rubbish at defending, with Lubomir Satka the only defender named in the team that started the game.

However, Gael Bigirimana was pressed into service at right-back with the attacking threat of Rolando Aarons forced back to left-back, whilst most surprisingly/astonishingly of all, Shane Ferguson was paired with Satka at centre-back. This is will o the wisp lightweight winger Shane Ferguson, who looks like any significant gust of wind will cause him problems…

The positives saw Wijnaldum open the scoring (watch it HERE) after only five minutes, then Rolando Aarons finish off the scoring with two brilliant goals in a minute late on.

However, the in between bit was an embarrassment.

Newcastle leaking four goals against this third tier American outfit who must have thought all of their fourth of Julys had come at once.

Sloppy defending and outplayed at times, Newcastle as ever looked weak in the air and conceded two of the four goals from headers.

Satka’s mistake let Timbers striker Belmar go one on one with Karl Darlow and despite his block, Fatawu was on hand to level things after 13 minutes.

Just over 10 minutes later the home side were ahead, Manning meeting a free-kick to send his header beyond Darlow. Then on 30 minutes yet another set-play found United out, the corner met by defender Clarke whose header was finished off from close range by Peay.

portland timbers

Things did briefly look up as Janmaat was introduced at half-time to steady the ship at the back and Newcastle looking the better team..however, after yet another scare when Nanchoff’s free-kick came back off the bar, Timbers (2) made it 4-1 when Besler headed in Jeanderson’s left wing cross.

Results don’t matter in friendlies, to a large extent, but performances do and this was awful.

However, by far the bright spot was Rolando Aarons, after creating the opening goal he then added two of his own.

The 75th and 76th minutes seeing Aarons flick the ball up inside the box before expertly putting an overhead kick past the home keeper, before seconds later smashing home a strike from just outside the box.

Plenty to think about for Steve McClaren and his coaches to think about but not much of it good, with just over two weeks until the season kicks off.

McClaren had earlier said that he wasn’t impressed that he had been landed with a pre season trip to America, saying he thought pre season in Europe provided a much better preparation.

He must also have been shaking his head at the choice of matches/venues, with worries about the artificial surface ensuring he wouldn’t risk the likes of Coloccini and Taylor on the plastic pitch.

Newcastle United: Darlow (Woodman 46), Bigirimana, Satka, Ferguson, Aarons, Abeid (Anita 65), Wijnaldum (Janmaat 46), Sissoko (Obertan 46), Perez, Gouffran (de Jong 75), Cisse (Armstrong 46)

  • Andgeo

    The game just highlighted what we already knew.
    1. Aaron’s is mint
    2. We don’t have one central defender fit to play for newcastle.
    We need 2 proper centre halfs ASAP!!!!!!

  • Andgeo
  • NottsToon

    It’s been a poor choice for a pre season tour to be honest from all points. The distance, the pitches, the timing (with new signings coming in). It’s a worry that we don’t have a single centre half fit enough to play on an artificial surface too.

  • fromtheheed

    The euphoria of the past 24 hours is all but forgotten.
    4 – 3 against third tier reserveds, a defeat of course due to our total lack of not being able to defend.
    Two new CENTRE BACKS please, before signing Thauvin.

  • foggy

    Well I guess McClaren will know for sure that the defence is total crap. If he doesn’t know by now that we need 2 Quality centre backs and a quality left back then he is a wally with a brolly.
    Anyways why fly half way round the world to play a friendly on a plastic pitch ? As usual piss poor organisation.

  • LeazesEnder

    This was a game that nobody seems to have wanted

  • Hughie

    The major Pardew era weakness of appalling defending exposed yet again. We seem to have a glut of players incapable of challenging and heading in the air–they scored 3 pathetically easy goals because of the lack of challenge. This was a reserve team in essence with 3 perhaps 4 who started getting into final 11, but the inability to defend is a malaise in the club McLaren must sort. The Under 21 team last season was no different –we do not sign decent defenders–young or otherwise.

  • 1957

    It was a bizzare to play a pre season game on an artificial pitch, at a time when muscle injuries in players are common. Having said that as he told us at the time, the best coach in the premier league was involved in the planning, So this would have been taken into acount. I suspect McClaren will avoid this in future if he can.
    Apart from the obvious need for a defender(s) there were a few other points
    Janmaat must be in with a chance of being captain, watching the live stream he has an authority about him, as well as being a seriously good player.
    Satka has a chance, he just needs help and guidance. He looked much better when he played alongside Janmaat.
    Aaron’s has a big future if he can stay fit. So has Perez but not as a sole striker.
    We played with players wide on each wing and had fullbacks pushing on, a far cry from the previous hump it up the middle tactic of Pardew. It still looked as if some players didn’t get it though and of those…
    Gouffran is as bad as we think, but Obertan is worse. Despite being given space out wide through quick service Obertan couldn’t get a decent cross in, Gouffran runs about but produces nothing.
    Finally if I was opposition manager I would put my tall players around Sissoko when I had offensive free kicks andcorners and aim in that direction. Today he never even challenged for their second goal and both him and Gouffran were weak for the third. It isn’t just today this happened on occasions last season, even with new two centre backs he is a lability in defensive situations.

  • DecMacK


    Except for the thousands of fans cheering from the stands!

  • DecMacK

    Too many excuses about the pitch! We lost… that’s what matters. Portland were a great side, playing way above their weight class and looking damn good for it! No need to treat these friendlies as meaningless or insignificant. They are a portent of things to come. When managers whine about pitches, great distances, bad weather and such, it smacks of a losing mentality. McClaren is waking up to the fact that he has a side with 7-8 players who couldn’t be given away.

    All negativity aside, Aarons really showed some dangerous instincts and took the game by the throat when it mattered. I hope to see more of that in coming weeks.

  • Consett Mag

    DecMacK  Losing is certainly not all that matters! The mere fact that we were playing a lower league team on a plastic pitch, after a long flight gives any excuse some validity. It was taking a sizable risk to travel vast distances and play on pitches that are famous for testing the ligaments and joints.
    No wonder some the players we put out didn’t exert themselves – better that than a month out with tweaked hamstrings etc.
    A wasted exercise of little use to help cement McClaren’s new team.

    2 players signed, one of them scored a goal, a new centre back on he way, and Aaron’s looking classy. That 24 hours will do me.