Portland Timbers 4 Newcastle United 3: Rolando Aarons nets wonder goal in USA defeat

Steve McClaren and Georginio Wijnaldum
Steve McClaren and Georginio Wijnaldum

Rolando Aarons sparked a fightback at Providence Park with a stunning goal – but Newcastle United couldn’t chop down Portland Timbers.

Steve McClaren’s side were beaten 4-3 in Oregon in the early hours of this morning.

New signing Georginio Wijnaldum gave Newcastle the lead with his first goal for the club, but the Major League Soccer side scored four unanswered goals and looked to be cruising to victory until Aarons’ intervention.

Aarons – who had started the game in defence – netted with an overhead kick with 15 minutes on the clock.

And the winger – who had set up Wijnaldum for his opening strike – scored again a minute later.

But United couldn’t conjure up an equaliser in their final USA tour game.

Head coach McClaren left out Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor because of the artificial surface at Providence Park, while Mike Williamson and Jamaal Lascelles were also rested.

With Curtis Good injured, McClaren had to cobble together an inexperienced back four lacking in height.

And that was to cost Newcastle in the first half.

Shane Ferguson was fielded at centre-half along with Lubo Satka – flown to the USA to replace Good – and Aarons and Gael Bigirimana played at full-back.

Newcastle did take the lead, with Wijnaldum poking an Aarons cross past Portland goalkeeper Jake Gleeson.

The evening start to unravel for United in the 13th minute. An error from Satka let in Kharlton Belmar, whose shot was blocked by Karl Darlow.

However, Fatawu slipped the rebound into the net.

Ten minutes later an unmarked Anthony Manny headed a Michael Nanchoff free-kick past Darlow, and Taylor Peay netted from another set-piece at the half-hour mark.

McClaren made four changes at the break, the most significant of which the introduction of defender Daryl Janmaat.

United, captained by Yoan Gouffran after the withdrawal of Moussa Sissoko, were fortunate not to concede another goal in the 56th minute when Nanchoff struck the crossbar with a free-kick.

The ball bounced on the line and out, and substitute goalkeeper Freddie Woodman was eventually able to gather the ball.

Midfielder Vurnon Anita replaced Mehdi Abeid after he was booked for a foul on Peay.

Portland added a fourth goal in the 70th minute. Besler got the better of Bigirimana to head a deep right-wing cross past Woodman at the far post.

Bigirimana broke upfield five minutes later and crossed for Aarons, who flicked the ball up and finished with an overhead kick.

A minute later Aarons rifled another shot past Gleeson.

McClaren threw on Siem de Jong for the last 13 minutes, but United, chasing an equaliser, ran out of time.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow (Woodman, 46); Bigirimana, Satka, Ferguson, Aarons; Abeid (Anita, 65), Wijnaldum (Janmaat, 46); Gouffran (de Jong, 77), Sissoko (Obertan, 46); Perez, Cisse (Armstrong, 46).