~ Timbers dominate, but only manage 1-0 win over Northern Nevada

Timbers dominate, but only manage 1-0 win over Northern Nevada

May 19, 2001
at PGE Park, Portland, Oregon

Portland: Greg Howes 25' (Scott Benedetti)

Despite outshooting the Northern Nevada Aces 31-7, Greg Howes' header in the 25th minute was the only goal of the game as the Portland Timbers defeated the visitors from Nevada 1-0 in front of 5,329 at PGE Park in a US Open Cup qualifying match.

The Timbers took control of the match early, and never let up. 2000 A-League rookie of the year Greg Howes was in the lineup for the first time, and the Timbers responded with a much more attacking style of play. In just the first ten minutes of play, Aces goalkeeper Rob Buchanan was forced to make saves on shots from Mark Baena, Brent Sancho, Baena again, and Howes.

Greg Howes narrowly misses with the header

In the 11th minute, it appeared the Timbers were about to get on the board when after a scramble near the net, defender Jeff Clarke found himself with the ball at his feel only 5 yards out from goal with the goalkeeper out of position. Clarke had to stretch slightly to reach the ball, and his shot was deflected wide by a defender who was standing in the goal mouth. These near-misses were to become a frequent occurance for the Timbers on this night.

After play switched to midfield for the next ten minutes or so, the Timbers began to attack more on the wings, and it paid off for them in the 25th minute. Midfielder Scott Benedetti received a heel pass from Matt Chulis which put him in good position to cross from the left. His cross was too well paced for the goalkeeper to deflect, and Howes got to the ball before Buchanan, and headed the ball with good pace towards the lower right corner of the net, easily beating the Aces goalkeeper, and putting the Timbers up 1-0.

The Cascade Rangers support group agrees that a foul committed against Matt Chulis deserves a card, though they seem to disagree on the severity of the foul

Northern Nevada got their first good scoring chance of the match in the 30th minute, when a hard shot from 20 yards out by Jaime Martinez, who was on an extreme angle to the left, was tipped over the net by Timbers goalkeeper Matt Napoleon. Nine minutes later, the Timbers appeared ready to score again when midfielder Brian Winters played a nice through pass to Baena, who chipped the Aces goalkeeper, only to have the ball cleared off the line by Aces defender Mike Bell.

In the 41st minute, a seemingly innocent free kick for the Aces from 40 yards out resulted in Napoleon having to jump back slightly to catch the ball which came down just under the bar, then immediately hold the ball out to keep it from crossing the goal line. Four minutes later, a through ball from Baena found Clarke in full stride, but his last touch was a little too far out, and Buchanan came out and got to the ball at the same time Clarke did, resulting in Clarke going down for a few minutes. Neither team threatened again and the score at halftime was 1-0 Timbers.

Kevin Legg shows off his green hair

The Timbers continued their attacking offense in the second half, and it seemed another goal was inevitable. In the 53rd minute, Baena and Howes ran a perfect give and go, and it appeared Baena had pulled the goalkeeper out, but by this time he was at too extreme an angle, and his shot went across the goal mouth and wide left. Only a minute or so later, Baena and Howes tried the same give and go again, but Baena's attempt to chip the Aces goalkeeper was not quite enough to clear the keeper's jump.

In the 62nd minute, Winters played a low, hard pass from midfield that Baena attempted to turn onto his left foot, but he was not able to get enough pace on the shot and it was easily saved. Just a minute or so later, the Timbers once again seemed ready to score when a Howes header off a Darren Sawatzky corner kick rattled off the crossbar, and Benedetti's attempt to head in the rebound was saved by Buchanan, who was fortunate to have the ball come right into his chest has he laid on the turf.

Timber Jim with the drum solo

Nine minutes later, Baena and Howes broke loose into the defense, with only one defender and the keeper back, but Baena's attempt to cross the ball to Howes was a foot or two behind Howes, and he was only able to barely deflect the ball. It appeared the Timbers were in full control of the game, even with their missed opportunities, but it would take a spectacular effort by Napoleon to keep the Timbers in the lead.

The Aces had had trouble penetrating the Timbers defense all night, but in the 85th minute, midfielder Alredo Chavarin found himself on the receiving end of a nice give-and-go, and after cutting to the right, found himself at the top of the box with only Napoleon between himself and the net. His last touch had caused the ball to roll slightly away from him, but it appeared he would reach the ball before Napoleon had any chance to get to it. But the Timbers goalkeeper bolted off his line and got to the ball just before Chavarin did, smothering the ball to preserve the shutout.

Jeff Clarke (2) narrowly misses a first half goal on this play

In extra time, another golden opportunity failed to produce a goal for the home team. Baena pushed the ball deep on the right wing, then as he turned towards goal, he forced Buchanan off his line, then played it back to second-half substitute Kevin Legg, who was wide open just outside the box, and only one defender guarding the goal, but his attempted chip went well over the net.

In the end, the Timbers knew it was their most dominating performance of the season, but too many good chances were not taken advantage of, and the Timbers would have to be satisfied with a 1-0 win over the D3 Aces.

Matt Chulis makes a move on Antonio Mora
Shots: Timbers 31, Aces 7
Saves: Timbers 5, Aces 14
Fouls: Timbers 8, Aces 13
Offsides: Timbers 1, Aces 3
Corners: Timbers 15, Aces 4

Timbers 1 (Sawatzky 57' (yellow, hard tackle))
Aces 1 (Macedo 41' (yellow, shove))
Darren Sawatzky makes a short cross
Timbers: Matt Napoleon, Gavin Wilkinson, Brent Sancho, Matt Chulis, Jeff Clarke, Brian Winters, Vadim Tolstolutsky (Kevin Legg 69'), Scott Benedetti, Darren Sawatzky, Mark Baena, Greg Howes
Aces: Rob Buchanan, Francisco Macedo, Rafael Loera, Miguel Cacho, Mike Bell, Antonio Mora, Nico Moreno, Mario Farfan, Alfredo Chavarin, Jaime Martinez, Jose Luis Cacho
Jeff Clarke being chased by Alfredo Chavarin

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