Timbers open preseason tournament with 1-1 draw
PORTLAND, Ore. — Behind an impressive goal from midfielder Kalif Alhassan, the Portland Timbers played the San Jose Earthquakes to a 1-1 draw in a preseason match Monday night at JELD-WEN Field before 16,118 fans. Monday’s match helped kick off a four-team preseason tournament in the Rose City.
Alhassan was on the receiving end of a pass from midfielder Diego Chara and provided the opening strike in the 15th minute. San Jose was able to knot the score at 1-1 in the 59th minute, benefitting from an own goal by Portland.
Timbers head coach John Spencer played seven players the full 90 minutes as the club builds towards the start of the 2012 MLS regular season, which begins in two weeks on Monday, March 12, against the Philadelphia Union at JELD-WEN Field.
With a well-placed shot, Alhassan tallied his first goal of the preseason to put the Timbers ahead 1-0 in the first half. He initially took a corner kick and played it short to Chara. Alhassan collected the return pass and curled a shot from the left side of the box by San Jose goalkeeper John Busch and inside the far post.
The Earthquakes equalized in the 59th minute. Tressor Moreno intercepted a pass in the Timbers defensive third and found striker Chris Wondolowski down the right side of the area. Wondolowski’s cross in was deflected in by Portland defender Hanyer Mosquera for an own goal.
The own goal was the first goal conceded by the Timbers since their preseason match against the LA Galaxy on Feb. 7, in Carson, Calif. San Jose’s equalizer ended a series of three consecutive shutouts and a run of 368 minutes without allowing a goal in preseason play.
The Timbers had a chance to take the lead in the 75th minute, but substitute Bright Dike’s looping header hit off the crossbar and the Earthquakes were able to settle the ball.
Portland has out-scored its opponents 9-2 in its first five preseason matches of 2012.
The Timbers return to action Thursday as they play host to Chivas USA in a preseason match at JELD-WEN Field at 7:30 p.m. as part of the preseason tournament. A live video webstream will be available at www.portlandtimbers.com, with a live radio broadcast on 750 AM The Game. Tickets are available for purchase at the JELD-WEN Field box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.
POR: Alhassan (Chara), 15
SJ: Own Goal (Mosquera), 59
POR: GK Perkins, D Kawulok (Palmer, 78), D Jean-Baptiste, D Mosquera, D Chabala, M Marcelin, M Jewsbury, M Alhassan, F Perlaza (Dike, 73), F Chara, F Alexander (Nagbe, 60)
SJ: GK Busch, D Morrow, D Bernardez, D Beitashour, D Corrales, M Chavez, M Baca (Moreno, 57), M Cronin (Jean Alexandre, 63), M Salinas, F Lenhart (Stephenson, 71), F Wondolowski (Guvensik, 84)
SJ: Corrales (Yellow), 35
POR: Mosquera (Yellow), 70
SJ: Beitashour (Yellow), 71
- In the opening match of the tournament Monday, Sweden’s AIK defeated Chivas USA, 2-0. Midfielder Lalawele Atakora recorded a goal and an assist in the match, which took place prior to the Timbers-Earthquakes contest.
- The Timbers are unbeaten in preseason with a record of 3-0-2.
- The Timbers wore their secondary Rose City red kits in their preseason game against the Earthquakes, marking the first time they’ve worn full uniforms this preseason. Previously, they’ve worn training kits.
- Monday’s match marked the second straight season in which Portland and San Jose have meet in an MLS preseason match. The two sides played to a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., in 2011.
- The last goal allowed by the Timbers came in the 80th minute of their 4-1 win over the LA Galaxy on Feb. 7.
- With their ninth goal scored in preseason, the Timbers have scored more goals (9) than they did over their seven preseason matches in 2011 (7).
- Alhassan is the seventh different player to score for the Timbers in preseason. Only midfielder James Marcelin and forward Jorge Perlaza have scored multiple goals.
- Goalkeeper Troy Perkins played in his third full match of the preseason and leads the team in preseason minutes played at 330 minutes.
Timbers Preseason Results:
Tuesday, Feb. 7 – Timbers defeat LA Galaxy 4-1 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. (Dike, Perlaza, Marcelin, Danso)
Friday, Feb. 10 – Timbers draw Montreal Impact 0-0 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Sunday, Feb. 12 – Timbers defeat Houston Dynamo 2-0 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. (Jewsbury, Marcelin)
Wednesday, Feb. 15 – Timbers defeat Chicago Fire 2-0 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. (Alexander, Perlaza)
Monday, Feb. 27 – Timbers draw San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 at JELD-WEN Field (Alhassan)
Thursday, March 1 – Timbers vs. Chivas USA at JELD-WEN Field (tournament); 7:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Sunday, March 4 – Timbers vs. AIK (Sweden) at JELD-WEN Field (tournament); 5 p.m. (Pacific)
Preseason quotes: Portland vs. San Jose
Head coach John Spencer
On atmosphere at JELD-WEN Field for a preseason match: “People come here and they’ll be surprised that they come to play a preseason tournament and you get 15,000 fans through the gates, it’s incredible. I still think I’ve got the best job in the country. You walk in the stadium, I drove past it at 11:30 this morning, and there were fans sitting outside waiting to get their seats in the stadium; it’s just, it doesn’t happen anywhere else, doesn’t happen anywhere else in America, doesn’t happen in most clubs in Scotland, in England. It’s a tremendous environment, so for us, it’s a physical game, the fans came out in show and they go crazy and demand nothing but pure 100 percent effort and that’s what we try and give them.”
On goal by Alhassan: “I thought it was a tremendous piece of skill. I think that the goal was sensational, great goal, and I’m just a little bit disappointed we gave up a goal through our own mistake.”
Midfielder Jack Jewsbury
On the game overall: "I think it's a typical MLS game. Anytime you get 15, 20,000 people in the crowd, teams step up a bit. That's the way the game went. I think it was a good test for us, I thought we did some things well, but on the same token there are definitely some things we need to work on. Overall, it was a good game, good to get 90 minutes in for the majority of the guys out there."