Timbers U-23s defeat Tacoma 1-0 on the road

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Midfielder Matt Van Houten scored within the first minute of action and goalkeeper Austin Guerrero recorded his first shutout of the season to lead the Portland Timbers U-23s to a 1-0 win over the Tacoma Tide Saturday at Curtis High School Stadium.

Van Houten put the Timbers U-23s (3-1-1, 10pts) on top just :12 seconds into the game and was followed by a solid defensive effort from backline, capped by Guerrero’s one save, to hold the lead and hand the Tide their first loss at home since 2006.

Defender Adam West took a team-high three shots and five others had an attempt for the Tide (1-1-2, 5pts), who was shut out for the second time this season. Tacoma took 12 corner kicks throughout the night and held a slight advantage in shots 8-7.

Off the opening whistle, Tacoma played the ball back toward their goal and attempted to work it across the field when Van Houten picked off the pass. He quickly set himself up for a shot and fired the ball into the back of an open net for his first strike of the season.

Tacoma’s lineup featured several former professional players, including West, USL First Division veteran Leighton O’Brien, former Portland Timbers forward Greg Howes and forward Nik Besagno, who played for Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake from 2005-08.

Saturday’s contest also doubled as the final match in the Timbers U-23s U.S. Open Cup qualification round. Despite the victory, the Timbers U-23s were eliminated from contention to be the Northwest Division’s representative in the tournament as the first-place Kitsap Pumas locked up the bid with a 3-0 win over the Cascade Surge Saturday.

The Timbers U-23s return home to play host to in-state rival the Cascade Surge on Saturday, May 30, at 3:30 p.m. at Kiggins Bowl in Vancouver Wash. Tickets will be available at the door for $10. For more information, visit www.portlandtimbers.com.

Notes: Forward Brent Richards paced the Timbers U-23s with three shots against Tacoma … Guerrero logged the Timbers U-23s second shutout of the season … The Timbers U-23s are 1-1-0 on the road in 2009.