MAY 21, 2011
Brunner punishes former club as Timbers remain perfect at home, 1-0 over Columbus

With both teams appearing to be playing a tight formation, the first scoring chance didn't come until the 11th minute, and it was visiting Columbus with the first good chance, off the first corner kick of the match as Tommy Heinemann's header on net was redirected over the bar by teammate Emelio Renteria. Four minutes later, it was Portland captain Jack Jewsbury with a good chance in the box, but his shot was blocked by a Columbus defender.

It was the Timbers with the next good chance, in the 29th minute, when Jorge Perlaza made a nice turn in the Crew box, but his shot was blocked by a nice block by Columbus defender Sebastian Miranda. For the next several minutes, the match would turn a bit chippy, with Portland's Kenny Cooper and Columbus defender Julius James getting involved in several physical tackles and pushing and shoving, with Cooper eventually ending up with a yellow for retaliation after a James foul.

But only a few minutes before the half, the visitors appeared certain to score when a quick cross from the right side from Andres Mendoza found the head of a diving Heinemann at the far post, and the shot was only kept out by a spectacular reaction save by Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins. Neither team would seriously threaten again, and the half would end scoreless at 0-0.

After a quiet first half for both teams, it wouldn't take long for the Timbers to light a fire under the JELD-WEN Field crowd when after a foul on Perlaza near the cover of the box was restarted quickly by Jewsbury, with Kalif Alhassan making a nice cross to the far post, where former Crew defender Eric Brunner was open for the chance from only a few yards out, and made no mistake with his headed goal, and 37 seconds into the second half, after not having a single shot on goal in the first, the Timbers had a 1-0 lead.

The Timbers carried the momentum of the goal into a few good chances in the next few minutes, with Perlaza having a close-in chance blocked wide, then just a minute later, a Perlaza cross went through to Alhassan, who had a chance to settle from 15 yards out, but blasted over the crossbar.

The visitors would get their first good look in the 60th minute, when Mendoza made a nice cut across the top of the Timbers box, but his shot didn't have much pace and was easily smothered by Perkins. Three minutes later, Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers had a good look from near the corner of the Timbers box, but sailed his shot wide right.

Shortly afterwards, the Timbers had a good scoring chance when a fortunate deflection off a Cooper pass fell to Perlaza, whose cross found Alhassan once again at the far post, but once again the shot was just off, going high and wide right. In the 69th minute, it was Alhassan with another good look, attempting a soft chip from 18 yards out that was a few yards high over the bar.

In the 74th minute, Heinemann, who had been a thorn in the Timbers' side all night, had a good chance on a header from about eight yards out, but slipped it a yard wide of the Timbers post before being subbed out.

In the 86th minute, Alhassan would set up a nice shot for Timbers capitain Jewsbury, whose shot was comfortably stopped by Columbus goalkeeper William Hesner. Just a few seconds later, the visitors had their best chance for stealing a point when Rogers made a nice turn at the top of the Timbers box, and his low shot eluded Perkins, but fortunately for the sold out crowd in Portland, brushed off the outside of the right post.

The Timbers would hold on through three minutes of stoppage for their fifth win in as many tries at home in their MLS debut season, and a third straight 1-0 shutout.

(Click each pic to get a much larger picture)

Match report and all photos by Allison Andrews E-mail at

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