Pore, Suzuki pace Timbers in 4-1 exhibition win

PORTLAND, Ore. – Midfielder Ryan Pore and forward Takayuki Suzuki each logged a goal and an assist to lead the Portland Timbers to a 4-1 win over Mexico’s Club Americá reserves in front of 5,017 in an international exhibition Sunday at PGE Park presented by Tecate.

Defender Mamadou Danso scored his second goal in three games, while Pore, Suzuki and forward Jason McLaughlin contributed to a three-goal outburst in the second half to lead the Timbers. Portland now has an unbeaten streak of seven matches, including six in league play.

Midfielder Hugo Garcia scored a goal to level the score entering halftime and midfielder George Corral notched a team-high three shots for the Club Americá reserves, who faced the Timbers while on a preseason tour of the United States to prepare for the upcoming Mexican second division season and a national tournament in Mexico.

The Timbers controlled the run of play throughout the match, out-shooting the visitors 18-5, and took the lead just two minutes into play on a header by Danso. At the back post, Danso connected on a corner kick by Suzuki and drilled it into the top corner of the goal to give Portland an early one-goal edge.

In the ninth minute, midfielder Alex Nimo had a chance to double the Timbers’ lead as he skipped a shot at Club Americá reserves goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez, who is a member of the Mexico U-20 National Team. The shot bounced past Gonzalez, but the Club Americá reserves had a defender in place to clear the ball off the goal line.

The match turned physical midway through the first half and peaked with an encounter between Nimo and Garcia. As the intensity increased, the Club Americá reserves picked up their play and took advantage of their best opportunity in the match to level the score at 1-1 in the 34th minute.

The Timbers had a hard time clearing a ball played into their box, and in the scramble, the ball worked its way out to Garcia at the top left side of the area. He took a touch and then hit a left-footed shot that bent its way into the top far corner of the goal past a diving effort by Timbers goalkeeper Brian Visser.

Portland continued to dominate the match in the second half, and after a series of close chances by trialist Warren Ukah, McLaughlin and midfielder Keith Savage, erupted for three goals in the second period starting with a strike by Suzuki.

In the 77th minute, Suzuki lined up for a free kick 25 yards out along the right post. He sent a left-footed blast into the box that curled its way to the back side and bounced off the back post and into the back of the net, breaking stalemate and lifting the Timbers to a 2-1 lead.

Pore extended the Timbers’ lead to 3-1 in the 84th minute with an open shot from inside the box. The Timbers leading scorer found open space inside the area roughly 10 yards out from the goal line as Savage patiently worked the ball into the box. Savage slipped Pore a short pass across the box and Pore fired a shot past Gonzalez and inside the left post.

With two minutes left in regulation, McLaughlin sealed the victory with his first strike of the season. Pore set up McLaughlin for a shot from 15 yards out, and McLaughlin unloaded a low drive that froze Gonzalez on the goal line and sailed into the back of the net.

The tandem of Timbers goalkeepers Visser and Steve Cronin in the net combined to make one save against the Club Americá reserves in the win and help Portland claim the 2009 Copa Gino Schettini.

The Timbers return to league play on Thursday, June 4, against the Montreal Impact at PGE Park at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $11 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Notes: Timbers midfielder Josh Cameron made his professional debut for the Timbers on Sunday. Cameron was one of four Portland players, along with Shaun Higgins, Tom Poltl and Cameron Dunn, making their first start of the season … Ukah, who has been on trial with the Timbers for the past three weeks, entered the match in the second half … Danso’s goal was the fastest goal scored by the Timbers this season … The 2009 Copa Gino Schettini was presented in honor of the late Gino Schettin, a recognized soccer promoter in the state of Oregon.