Timbers can't find offense in Vancouver

BURNABY, B.C. - The Portland Timbers continued their offensive struggles against the Whitecaps on Friday, losing 1-0 as Martin Nash tallied the lone Vancouver goal at Swangard Stadium.

Despite leading the A-League with 31 goals this season, the Timbers (9-6-0, 27pts) have been held scoreless by Vancouver for three straight matches.

The Whitecaps (11-5-2, 35pts) extended their lead over Portland in the Western Conference, winning their third game in four attempts.

Nash put the Whitecaps on the board in the 56th minute, placing a right-footed shot inside the near post for the game-winner. Former Timber Jeff Clarke was credited with the assist.

The Timbers seldom found a chance to generate any offense against the Vancouver back line Friday, falling behind on shots and corner kicks to the Whitecaps.

A rare Portland scoring opportunity came midway through the second half when Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar took a feed from Byron Alvarez, putting a shot on goal toward the near post that was saved by Vancouver goalkeeper Alex Marques.

Alvarez fired a shot at the Vancouver ‘keeper in the 83rd, but fell short.

Vancouver found an open gap in the first half when David Xausa optioned to Winston Grffiths, who dialed in a left-footed shot that forced Portland goalkeeper Josh Saunders to dive for the ball and keep the match scoreless.

The Timbers conclude their two-game Northwest swing tomorrow in Seattle, where they’ll take on the Sounders at 7 p.m.

SCORING SUMMARY: Nash, 56’ (Clarke).

PENALTY SUMMARY: VAN Xausa, YC (14th), Kindel, YC (82’), Griffiths, YC (89’).

LINEUPS: PORTLAND (9-6-0) J. Saunders GK, Morrison D, Wilkinson D, S. Saunders D, Thompson D, Winters M (Alcaraz-Cuellar), Bengard M (Alvarez), Gregor M, Sagare M, Gordon F, Benedetti F (Miranda); VANCOUVER (11-5-2) Marques GK, Dasovic D, Thompson D, Piette D (Dauda), Nash M (Gomes), Morris M, Kindel M, Sulentic M, Clarke M (Heald), Griffiths F, Xausa F.