City’s US tour ended in narrow defeat at Jen-Weld Field Portland with Jose Valencia’s 53rd minute strike giving the home side a narrow 1-0 win.
Again – in similar fashion to the defeat in San Jose – the only goal came courtesy of a misplaced place from a defender, this time Ryan Bennett the guilty party.
Chris Hughton had predicted this would be the sternest test of the tour and he wasn’t to be disappointed with Portland – currently second in the Western Division of the MLS – providing robust opposition.
For the City fans present – and those watching online – they were afforded a second glimpse of Ricky van Wolfswinkel in a City shirt; his evening’s work lasting 70 minutes before making way for Luciano Becchio.
Fellow Dutchman Leroy Fer was given a watching brief as Hughton took the opportunity to experiment and spread valuable game time across his travelling party.
Carlo Nash was given the keeper’s jersey for the evening and Elliott Bennett popped up at right-back, allowing Russell Martin to slot in alongside Ryan Bennett.
Overall an excellent workout for City and one which will have given priceless match fitness to the squad as they work towards the 17 August kick-off.
As the travelling party prepares to head home, the US tour will be viewed as a success in many levels, not least for ‘squad bonding’ purposes. With all of the new players, minus Martin Olsson, having had their first taste of City action –and ALL of them having undergone their karaoke initiation – Hughton and McNally can now turn their attention, for the next few days at least, in bringing in some new faces.
City: Norwich City: Nash, Bennett (E), Bennett (R), Martin, Whittaker (Ayala 70), Snodgrass (Josh Murphy 76), Howson, Fox, Redmond, Hoolahan (Butterfield 70), van Wolfswinkel (Becchio 70). Subs (not used): Ruddy, Bunn, Gafaiti, Ayala.