Josten helps Timbers defeat Vancouver 2-0 Saturday

PORTLAND, Ore. – Forward George Josten scored his first goal of the season and midfielder Ryan Pore capitalized on a penalty kick to guide the Portland Timbers to a 2-0 win over the defending-champion Vancouver Whitecaps in front of 9,081 Saturday at PGE Park.

Midfielder Johan Claesson was fouled at the edge of the box to set up the Timbers penalty kick in the sixth minute. Josten then doubled the advantage just before halftime to help the Timbers (4-1-3, 15pts) earn their first win and shutout against Vancouver since Sept. 16, 2007.

Pore scored his third goal of the season and goalkeeper Steve Cronin recorded six saves in the shutout for the Timbers, who extended their unbeaten streak to seven matches and move into third place in the USL First Division with the victory.

Midfielder Ansu Toure took a team-high three shots, forward Marcus Haber added two of his own and goalkeeper Jay Nolly logged five saves to lead the Whitecaps (3-3-2, 11pts), who dropped their second straight league match.

The Timbers took an early lead on a sixth-minute penalty kick goal by Pore. Josten set up the play when he sent a pass up field for Claesson on a run towards the top of the box. As Claesson approached the edge of the area, Nolly left his line to challenge the play. Claesson slipped the ball around Nolly, and on his way by was clipped by the Whitecaps goalkeeper at the top of the box. Referee Hidajet Tica pointed to the spot and awarded the Timbers the penalty kick attempt. Pore converted the shot for his second penalty-kick goal of the season.

Portland maintained possession throughout stretches of the first half, but both sides had their chances early. In the 14th minute, Toure created an open look near the top of the box but cracked his shot high. Ten minutes later, midfielder Martin Nash had a chance to put the Whitecaps on the board, but Cronin made a diving save to maintain Portland’s one-goal advantage.

Just past the half-hour mark, midfielder Brian Farber had a chance to double the Timbers’ lead on a ball played into the box by defender David Hayes. Off a free kick, Hayes delivered the ball to the back post, where Farber was making a run. Sliding on the turf, Farber got a foot on the ball but poked it wide.

The Whitecaps put the Timbers under pressure midway through the first half on a pair of long throw-ins by Nash. In the 36th minute, a long throw-in from the left side was passed out to the top of the box and laid off for defender Mason Trafford, who unleashed a low shot on frame but it was blocked by Portland defender Stephen Keel in the box.

The Timbers escaped a chance by Vancouver to level the score in the 38th minute when forward Charles Gbeke received the ball inside the box. Fighting off his defender, Gbeke headed it across the goalmouth for Haber, who pushed his open look over the crossbar.

As the first half came to a close, Josten out-worked his defender to give the Timbers a 2-0 lead heading into halftime. Chasing down a ball played down the right side, Josten raced his defender to the ball. He beat his marker and overtook the ball while attacking the box. On his second touch, Josten slotted a shot inside the near post for his first strike of the season in the 41st minute.

The Timbers controlled the tempo in the second half and, much like early in the match, continued to put the Whitecaps on their heels; Portland out-shot the Whitecaps 7-3 in second half.

Early in the second period, forward Mandjou Keita appeared to have given the Timbers a three-goal lead. As Keita chased down a ball played over the top and Nolly left his line to challenge. The two players met about 10 yards outside the box and Nolly got a piece of the ball and knocked it off Keita, but the ball continued to move towards the Whitecaps goal. On the deflection, Kieta was called for a hand ball as he kicked the ball into an open net, wiping the strike off the board.

Instead of sitting back and holding on to the lead, the Timbers continued to push forward. In the 53rd minute, Farber pushed the ball up field and worked it into the box. About 10 yards from the goal line along the right post, Farber selected to slip a cross into the middle of the box for Keita, but Vancouver’s Wesley Charles and Nolly where in place to turn away the play. Midway through the second half, Josten unleashed his second shot of the night from 20 yards out, but it sailed high.

Vancouver gained some momentum late in the second half, but was unable to take advantage of the run of play. And in the 83rd minute, Portland’s Tony McManus started a counter attack that nearly added to the home side’s lead.

McManus played the ball up the right touch line to second-half sub Jason McLaughlin near the midfield line. McLaughlin switched up the point of attack and found forward Takayuki Suzuki along the far side. Suzuki charged his defender and pulled the trigger on a low shot back at the right post. The ball got past a diving effort from Nolly but rolled just wide of the goal post.

Portland closes out the weekend with its first international exhibition match of the season Sunday as it plays host to Mexico’s Club Americá reserves at PGE Park at 5 p.m., presented by Tecate. The Club Americá reserves features the up-and-coming stars of Mexico and Club Americá’s first team. Tickets start at $15 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or phoning (800) 745-3000.

Notes: Earlier in the day, the Timbers U-23s defeated the Cascade Surge 4-2 at Kiggins Bowl in Vancouver, Wash. … Cronin earned his second shutout of the season on Saturday … With the win, the Timbers are now 8-18-8 against the Whitecaps in regular-season matches since 2001 and improved to 7-4-6 at PGE Park against their Northwest rivals … Portland picked up its first shutout against Vancouver since Sept. 16, 2007.

 

Lineups:
POR: GK Cronin, D Thompson, D Knowles, D Keel, D Hayes, M Farber (Nimo, 76), M McManus, M Claesson, M Pore (Suzuki, 79), F Keita (McLaughlin, 68), F Josten (Savage, 78)
 
VAN: GK Jolly, D Knight, D Thompson, D Charles, D Trafford (Hirano, 69), M Moose (Martin, 8), M Gage (Chin, 57), M Nash, M Toure (Burgess, 75), F Haber, F Gbeke (Orgill, 57)