Timbers sneak by Vancouver 5-4 on penalties

MILWAUKIE, Ore. – The Portland Timbers defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 5-4 on penalties Sunday afternoon in preseason play at Alder Creek Middle School in Milwaukie, Ore.
 
After a 0-0 result at the end of regulation, the Timbers and Whitecaps decided the match on penalty kicks for the rights to the Preseason Cup presented by Portland Parks and Recreation. Defender Lee Morrison netted the game-winning goal for the Timbers.
 
Both teams exchanged scoring opportunities throughout the first half, but neither could find the back of the net. Early in the match, the Timbers nearly scored on a ball played by Andrew Gregor to midfielder Troy Ready on the left wing. Ready worked the ball inside the box and sent a dangerous cross to the near post but Vancouver’s Adrian Cann cleared the pass over the crossbar.
 
The Timbers dodged a bullet in the 19th minute as goalkeeper Josh Wicks came off his line to force a shot by Joel Bailey just wide of the far post. Whitecaps’ midfielder Martin Nash played a ball over the top to Bailey 30 yards out who beat his defender to the ball and forced a one on one against Wicks.
 
Before the end of the first half, Wicks, who played for Vancouver from 2005-2006, saved two shots on goal from inside the box. The first shot came from Nash on the right post directly at Wicks in position. The deflection went into the air and was headed by another Whitecaps player across the goal-mouth before Timbers defender Scot Thompson could clear the ball.
 
Both teams played conservatively in the second half with fewer shots on goals. The Whitecaps nearly stole the lead in the 82nd minute as forward Marty Johnston earned a one on one opportunity on a broken play. A Timbers’ pass was intercepted at midfield by a Vancouver midfielder who found Johnston on the run, and hit him with a well placed chip. Johnston, running at right post, pushed his shot just wide left as Wicks charged from his line.
 
In the closing minutes of regulation, the Timbers had perhaps their best shot opportunity of the day as Gregor, who was deep in his offensive third sent a cross to defender Cameron Knowles. Knowles’ shot was deflected by Vancouver goalkeeper Srdjan Djekanovic and out to Timbers midfielder Kiki Lara attacking the ball. Lara’s low shot was saved by Djekanovic to preserve the 0-0 result.
 
At the end of regulation, the two sides decided the game on PKs for the first Preseason Cup presented by Portland Parks and Recreation. Wicks blocked one shot from the spot and Timbers’ midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer missed wide left on his attempt to force a sixth shooter with the score knotted at 4-4. Johnston’s shot sailed high for Vancouver, and Timbers defender Lee Morrison delivered the 5-4 clincher with a shot inside the right post. 
 
Shooting penalties for the Timbers were: Gregor, Chris Bagley, Leonard Griffin, Kreamalmeyer, Luc Harrington and Lee Morrison.
 
Shooting penalties for the Whitecaps were: Joey Gjertsen, Cann, Jason McLaughlin, Jared Montz, Graham Smith and Johnston.
 
With the victory, the Timbers swept their final two preseason matches over the weekend defeating the University of Portland Pilots, 2-1, on Friday night at Merlo Field.
 
The Timbers (0-0-0, 0pts) begin the 2007 USL First Division on April 21 against the Puerto Rico Islanders (1-0-0, 3pts) at PGE Park at 7 p.m. The Islanders played their first game of the season on April 13 with a 2-1 win over the Rochester Raging Rhinos. Tickets are available at the PGE Park box office or through area Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (503) 224-4400.
 
Starters:
Vancouver – GK Caig, D Cann, D Klein, D Martin, D Tchoumi, M Clarke, M Nash, M Testo, M Valente, F Bailey, F Sebrango
 
Portland – GK Wicks, D Griffin, D Morrison, Knowles, D Thompson, M Ready, M Gregor, M Dombrowski, M Kreamalmeyer, F Bagley, F Hague