Steven Lenart against the Portland Timbers
Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

MLS Preseason Tracker: Nelson Rivas heads to Colombia; Rose City Invitational kicks off (Feb. 23)

The intensity is gradually ratcheting up as MLS preseason training continues at a variety of locations around the world. Catch all the other news and updates from MLS training camps below. And for the entire February preseason schedule, click here.


Vancouver Whitecaps 5, Portmore United 1 | RECAP
Portland Timbers 0, San Jose Earthquakes 1| RECAP

CLASH OF STYLES: The San Jose Earthquakes are known as a physical team, while the Portland Timbers typically wow with their possession game, and that was exactly what fans got from the two teams' meeting on the opening day of the Rose City Invitational.

It was the Quakes' strong-headed style that prevailed on the day in a 1-0 win, but the Timbers impressed in spells with their passing and movement. San Jose made no bones about playing a physical game, but their pressure paid off in the 26th minute when the Timbers' Norberto Paparatto turned in an own goal during a scramble in the area following a Quakes corner kick.

The Rose City Invitational will return on Weds., Feb. 26 when the Earthquakes take on the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Timbers take on Jamaican team Portmore Utd.

'CAPS CRUISE PAST PORTMORE: The Vancouver Whitecaps opened up the Rose City Invitational with a bang, putting five past Jamaican team Portmore United while conceding only one of their own.

The 'Caps looked to be in some trouble in the first half, falling behind despite a Portmore United player being issued a red card in the14th minute. However, new signing Nicolas Mezquida leveled it before the half and after the teams came outfrom the break Vancouver went on a tear.

Defender Jordan Harvey surprisingly led the scoring, netting the first and third goals of the half, while Darren Mattocks and Russell Teibert added the other two. Mattocks was also credited with two assists in the second-half flurry, while Teibert, Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado all picked up one apiece.

Head coach Carl Robinson fielded close to a first-choice starting XI save for in goal, where Residency goalkeeper Marco Carducci got the start. Also starting were Mezquida and Sebastian Fernandez, who recently arrived at the club from Boston River in Uruguay. Robinson only made three subs – the amount allowed in a competitive game – throughout the match.

RIVAS LEAVES IMPACT CAMP: Montreal will be a defender lighter for the time being after it was reported Sunday by RDS analyst Patrick Leduc that Nelson Rivas was headed back to his native Colombia to recuperate from a hamstring injury suffered in last Sunday's friendly against Orlando City SC:

When contacted by for comment on the report, an Impact spokesperson confirmed that Rivas was heading to Colombia for "personal reasons," but did not discuss the injury.

4-3-3 ON TAP IN PHILLY: What's one way for the Philadelphia Union to utilize the glut of midfield talent they've acquired this offseason? Switch to a 4-3-3 formation, of course.

Union head coach has been rolling out a 4-3-3 in the team's preseason work, presumably to help incorporate the talents of Designated Players Maurice Edu and Cristian Maidana, as well as newly-minted French midfielder Vincent Nogueira, and Union and MLS mainstay Brian Carroll.

For those fans unfamiliar with the formation, the Union's official website does an excellent job of breaking it all down, looking both at the legendary Barcelona and Ajax teams that utilized the 4-3-3 with devastating success, as well as a more recent MLS Cup-winning team.

OFF TO THE RACES: What do you do when you have a day off on your MLS preseason trip to Central Florida? Hit up the Daytona 500, of course!

Players from Sporting KC (Erik Palmer-Brown, Chance Myers and Jacob Peterson) and the Columbus Crew (Tyson Wahl and Hector Jimenez) set aside their Eastern Conference rivalry Sunday to hang out with NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne and watch the famed race – the opening contest of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Here's hoping they were able to stay dry.

There was plenty of poor whether for attendees to deal with, but he Philadelphia Union, who were also out in force at the Daytona International Speedway with eight players in the stands, got creative with their rain gear:

ROSE CITY RUMBLE:  One more preseason tournament kicks off today when the Rose City Invitational gets underway at Providence Park. Three MLS teams – Portland, San Jose and Vancouver – are joined by Jamaica's Portmore United for a four-team, week-long tournament with each team facing each other once.

The proceedings get underway at 5:30 pm ET when the Whitecaps take on Portmore United on Fans will be able to catch the Timbers-Earthquakes game at 8 pm ET on both and

To get you ready for all the action, looks at what the tournament means to their team as the regular season creeps closer. If you're more of an audiophile, last week's Talk Timbers podcast should make for good preview material, featuring Timbers defender Pa Modou Kah and San Jose Earthquakes writer Robert Jonas.

SOUND OFF, ONCE MORE: The Seattle Sounders showed no sign of slowing down their impressive preseason form on Sunday morning, routing the College of Charleston despite being just over 12 hours removed from a 2-1 win over the Charleston Battery on Saturday:

Zach Scott scored the lone goal of the first half from a corner kick, but the floodgates opened in the second half. Homegrown midfielder Aaron Koval connected with fellow Sounders academy product Sean Okoli for the second tally of the game, Tristan Bowen made it three, Kovar added a fourth himself, and the 2014 Superdraft's Mr. Irrelevant, Fabio Pereira, grabbed himself another preseason goal for five.

STEPHENS CLOSE TO STABÆK: Former LA Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens is closing in on a new deal, and though he's leaving Bruce Arena and the Galaxy, it appears he'll still get a chance to play under one of the most accomplished American coaches of all time in Bob Bradley:

Bradley took over the reins at Norwegian top-flight club Stabæk back in January and is currently preparing to start his first season in a club job since he left Chivas USA at the end of 2006. He has expressed an interest in bringing in players he's familiar with from his time coaching in the United States and Egypt, and Stephens could be the first such signing.

ALL ABOARD!: The Vancouver Whitecaps eschewed the traditional bus and plane methods of away travel to head to Portland and instead hopped on the Amtrak Cascades train for an eight-and-a-half hour journey. You can catch the highlights here:

Also, be sure to check out just why the Whitecaps' clash with Portmore United on Sunday is so special to Darren Mattocks and Andre Lewis.


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