Timbers lose first league match at home, 1-0 to Vancouver

June 29, 2001
at PGE Park, Portland, Oregon

Goals:

62' - Vancouver: Alfredo Valente (David Morris)

Vancouver needed a ricochet to get their only goal of the night, but that was all they needed as Alfredo Valente's goal in the 62nd minute held up as the Vancouver Whitecaps shut out the Portland Timbers 1-0 in front of a crowd of 6,013 at PGE Park.

Mark Baena marked by Jeff Skinner and Steve McCauley

Playing in front of the second largest crowd of the season, the Timbers came out looking like they wanted to break out of their recent scoring slump. In the 5th minute, the Timbers had a good chance to score when Brent Sancho played a header off a corner to Brian Winters, but Winters was unable to put the ball on net. In the 10th minute, Sancho once again had his head on a ball near the Vancouver net, but his headed shot went right to Whitecaps goalkeeper Didar Sandhu.

After each team had crosses into the box which neither team could finish on, in the 22nd minute the Timbers had perhaps their best possession sequence of the night, taking two corner kicks and playing many passes around and inside the box until Darren Sawatzky dropped a ball to Vadim Tolstolutsky, who was at about the same distance from the goal as he was when he had put in his game-tying shot against the Whitecaps two weeks ago. But this time his hard shot was deflected up into the air by a Vancouver defender for a corner kick.

Geordie Lyall with a handful of Darren Sawatzky's jersey

In the 28th minute, Vancouver had their first good scoring chance of the night when Jason Jordan made a strong run down the right side, and made a very strong low shot from 15 yards that hit Winters, who had been knocked down a second before, but happened to be right where the shot was headed. Five minutes later, a nice give and go between Mark Baena and Tolstolutsky had Baena open for a second from 20 yards, but his shot went barely wide right. Five minutes later, Vancouver's Jeff Skinner saved a ball from crossing the endline, then crossed it to Jordan, who seemingly had an open net to the nearside from 15 yards out, but his shot went a few yards wide left. In the 39th minute, the Whitecaps came close to scoring again when a Jordon cross was loose inside the Timbers box, but a Steve Kindel shot was deflected at the last minute by Sancho, who got a foot on the ball just as Kindel shot, sending the shot up, where it was headed out of danger.

Baena and McCauley going for the header

The Timbers best chance to score came in the 44th minute, and it was a quick strike from out of nowhere. Sawatzky played a cross from about 35 yards out towards the left side of the box. Scott Benedetti made a run towards the post, and got to the ball in full stride, playing a strong strike that beat Sandhu. But the ball hit off a Vancouver defender's foot, ricocheted up and off the bottom of the crossbar, then straight down, with the spin carrying the ball back out of the net. Baena attempted to put the rebound back into the net, but his shot was also deflected, and the ball was cleared, sending the players into the locker room at halftime in a scoreless tie.

Both teams came out more tentative in the 2nd half, knowing that a single goal was probably going to decide the outcome. The turning point of the match was innocent enough, with Timbers goalkeeper Matt Napoleon throwing the ball out of his own box in the 62nd minute. The ball was intercepted, however, by Vancouver's David Morris, who played the ball to Alfredo Valente. Valente's shot from 20 yards out was probably not going to be enough to beat Napoleon, but the shot deflected off defender Matt Chulis, and the ball redirected slightly, and Napoleon had no chance, with the ball finding the net, putting the Whitecaps up 1-0.

Rick Titus gets position on Michael O'Neill for the header

The Timbers finally picked up their offensive attack, and in the 70th minute, a Sawatzky cross was controlled at about 10 yards out by Jeff Clarke, but Clarke could not turn on the ball fast enough, and his shot was deflected before it could get on net. In the 80th minute, a Whitecaps counterattack nearly added another goal when Valente found himself in one-on-one on Napoleon, but the Timbers keeper saved well on a shot that was headed for the far corner. At this point, the Timbers brought new addition Darin Lewis into the match, to add an offensive spark. It nearly paid off immediately, as he took his first touch and dribbled down to 25 yards out before being fouled, but the resulting free kick by Michael O'Neill was well high, ending the Timbers threat.

In the 86th minute, the Timbers appeared ready to tie the score when a Sancho cross found Lewis wide open, just five yards out from the far post. Lewis played a strong header down, but it was right at Sandhu, and the scoring chance once again went unfinished. The Timbers were not able to threaten again, and for the first time this year, the Timbers were shut out. This was also their first home loss in the A-League, and the Timbers drop to 6-3-1 with 27 points, good only for third in the Western Conference.

Brian Winters heads the pass to Scott Benedetti
Stats:
Shots: Timbers 7, Whitecaps 14
Saves: Timbers 2, Whitecaps 7
Fouls: Timbers 16, Whitecaps 18
Offsides: Timbers 4, Whitecaps 3
Corners: Timbers 6, Whitecaps 4

Cautions:
Timbers 3 (Sawatzky 7' (yellow, hard foul), Tolstolutsky 65' (yellow, dissent), Benedetti 90' (yellow, dissent))
Vancouver: 1 (Kindel 82' (yellow, dissent)

Starters:
Portland: Matt Napoleon, Brent Sancho, Gavin Wilkinson, Matt Chulis, Jeff Clarke (Darin Lewis 82'), Brian Winters, Vadim Tolstolutky, Michael O'Neill, Scott Benedetti, Darren Sawatzky, Mark Baena
Vancouver: Didar Sandhu, Nico Berg, Geordie Lyall, Steve McCauley, Jeff Skinner, Rick Titus, Steve Kindel, Alfredo Valente, David Morris, Chris Craverio (John Sulentic 75'), Jason Jordan
Benedetti marked by Steve Kindel

This corner got through the Vancouver defense, but resulted in no shot on goal

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