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
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
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved.
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