Jordan leads Timbers' rally in 2-2 draw
Down by a pair of goals, Jordan, who joined the Timbers Wednesday on loan from Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, helped Portland rally in the second half by assisting midfielder Miguel Guante’s strike in the 70th minute and then scored the equalizer with a penalty kick goal five minutes later.
Guante scored his second goal of the season and forward Takayuki Suzuki set up the equalizing penalty kick for the Timbers (5-7-9, 24pts), who now join the Atlanta Silverbacks in a tie for sixth place in the USL First Division and extend their unbeaten streak in Minnesota to eight matches.
Midfielders Ricardo Sanchez and Luchi Gonzalez each scored for Minnesota (5-9-6, 21pts), who for the second consecutive match saw a two-goal lead slip away. The Thunder held the advantage in shots 14-5 in a match that saw several quality scoring opportunities from each side.
The Timbers played against Minnesota without defender Justin Thompson and midfielder Shaun Higgins due to a one-game, league-imposed suspension for yellow-card accumulation. Forward Chris Brown, the Timbers’ leading scorer, also missed Saturday’s match serving a league-imposed suspension from his red card ejection against the Carolina Railhawks on July 24.
Thunder midfielder Stephen deRoux set up the game’s first tally in the 18th minute as he was fouled inside the penalty area. Sanchez calmly slotted home his fifth goal of the season to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
Defender Scot Thompson made two timely kick saves in the 32nd minute for the Timbers to keep the match within reach. Goalkeeper Brad Knighton left his line to challenge a ball played into the box and collided with a Thunder player. Standing on the goal line, Thompson turned away consecutive shots by forwards Melvin Tarley and Alen Marcina trying to burry a loose ball inside the box.
Minnesota extended their lead in the 66th minute as Gonzalez put away a deflected shot off the wood work. Marcina weaved his way towards the top of the box and fired a hard shot off the crossbar that deflected out to Gonzalez, who then one-timed the ball inside the near post for a 2-0 Thunder lead.
The Timbers pulled one back in the 70th minute as Jordan worked his way through traffic to find Guante around the top of the box. Lined up along the right post, Guante unleashed a low shot across the box and inside the far post past a diving effort by Minnesota goalkeeper Nic Platter to trim Minnesota’s lead 2-1.
In the 75th minute, Suzuki earned a penalty kick opportunity that helped the Timbers find the equalizer. Suzuki was fouled inside the box as he tracked down a ball played over the top and worked it inside the area. Jordan was awarded the penalty kick and finished his first goal of the season inside the left post to level the score.
Following the Timbers’ equalizing tally, the offensive pressure and intensity by both teams spiked as they searched for the win. Tarley tried to finish a loose ball at the top of the box but Knighton was there to knock the ball down. In the 86th minute, Marcina’s bicycle attempt from the penalty spot was also denied by Knighton.
The Timbers return home to face the Seattle Sounders in the final regular-season match between the two sides as USL First Division rivals on Aug. 7 at PGE Park. The Cascadia Cup match will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel; kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Tickets start at $11 and are available at the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400.
Shots: POR 5, MIN 14