It seems that the artificial surface at Providence Park and resting some players are the main reasons Steve McClaren fielded a back four of Bigirimana, Ferguson, Satka and Aarons in that first half, and only Satka is really a regular defender.
It’s not surprising that we let in three poor goals in that first half against a Portland Timbers second eleven.
Newcastle’s starting line-up last night
It was not a good way to end the US tour and we know results are secondary in pre-season – but this was against an MLS reserve side – so it doesn’t look good.
If Steve was trying to unearth a star defender out of some of our youngsters it was a failure, and after our defense was simply hopeless in the second half of the season, there’s going to be a negative reaction to the game from the fans.
McClaren has revealed that the Magpies started with Gael Bigirimana, Lubomir Satka, Shane Ferguson, and Rolando Aarons in defense because Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor and Jamaal Lascelles could not play on the surface.
This is what Steve McClaren said:
“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 on the pitch because of troubles they get,” said McClaren.
“In that respect, the key thing was that everyone came through safely and no injuries. We’ve more or less done that.”
“In the first half it was a makeshift back four. We had no center-halves, really.” “They couldn’t play on this surface. That was always going to be difficult.”
But why couldn’t we have given Jamaal Lascelles and Mike Williamson 45 minutes each – our next game is not until Sunday?
And Janmaat could have played a half at the back too – he’s proved he’s more than a decent center-back.
That starting defense was simply weird.
But we suppose it’s only a pre-season game, and we had our best five center-backs unavailable for this game, with Curtis Good injured again.
So that explains why we conceded four poor goals, but it does remind us of last season’s woes in defense, and the fact our defense has been sub-standard for three seasons now.
Maybe we can sign two top center-backs in the next week?