Timbers start season with win over Philadelphia - KPTV - FOX 12

Timbers start season with win over Philadelphia

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

[PortlandTimbers.com]

Before a festive atmosphere at JELD-WEN Field, the Portland Timbers received a goal and an assist from midfielder Kalif Alhassan and goals from striker Kris Boyd and defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste in their MLS debuts to defeat the Philadelphia Union 3-1 before a sellout crowd of 20,438 fans Monday night in the culminating match of MLS First Kick 2012.

The capacity crowd for the Timbers season opener was the club's 18th consecutive sellout for an MLS match at JELD-WEN Field; Portland sold out each of its 17 regular-season contests during its inaugural MLS season in 2011.

Under a steady rain, the two sides scored all four of the game's goals in the second half. The Union (0-1-0, 0pts) claimed the initial lead on a goal by midfielder Gabriel Gomez in the 51st minute. But the Timbers (1-0-0, 3pts) responded with three unanswered goals inside a 22-minute span, starting with Jean-Baptiste's equalizer in the 54th minute. Boyd and Alhassan struck in the 66th and 76th minutes, respectively, as the Timbers opened their second MLS campaign with a 3-1 victory.

Three minutes after going down a goal, Jean-Baptiste leveled the score at 1-1 in the 54th minute. A long free kick by midfielder Jack Jewsbury dropped into the middle of the box along the right post. Making his professional debut, Jean-Baptiste drove a header inside the far post, with his shot skipping by the diving effort of Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath.

Six minutes after the hour mark, Boyd opened his MLS account, lifting the Timbers to a 2-1 lead. From the right side, Alhassan placed a sharp cross in along the top of the six yard box as Boyd came slashing through. Boyd re-directed the ball with his head, getting just enough on it to deposit his shot inside the back post.

Jewsbury logged his second assist of the night when he set up Alhassan's first MLS goal in the 76th minute. From a tight angle inside the box, Alhassan took a chance on frame and curled a shot around the reach of MacMath and put an impressive finish inside the back post to cap the Timbers opening victory of the season.

Philadelphia staked the lead in the 51st minute. A free kick by Gomez from 35 yards out was hit sharply through the box and bounced its way inside the right post for an early second-half lead for the Union.

The Timbers limited the Union to just five shots on the night and outshot the visiting side 17-5. Philadelphia's MacMath made four saves, with three coming on shots by Boyd.

The Timbers open a stretch of back-to-back road matches on Saturday as they take on FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium at 5:30 p.m. (Pacific) live on ROOT SPORTS.

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