Costa Rica's Puntarenas defeats Timbers 3-1

PORTLAND, Ore. – A pair of second-half goals just three minutes apart helped Costa Rica’s Punarenas FC capture a 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in an international exhibition match on Saturday night in front of a festive 7,478 at PGE Park.

The Timbers controlled the run of play for most of the match and out-shot the Costa Rican side 23-5. Rookie forward Bright Dike (DEE-kay) scored his first professional goal to put Portland on top midway through the first half. Puntarenas, however, was able to equalize before halftime and scored on both of their shots in the second half to steal the win.

Making a quick, one-game visit to the United States, Puntarenas received goals from midfielder Pedro Leal, a member of the Costa Rican U-23 National Team, and forwards Joshua Diaz and Daniel Pena. Goalkeeper Bryan Zamora logged six saves, including four in the first half, to help seal the win.

After some early chances for Portland, Dike put the home side on the board in the 22nd minute. He received the ball down the right touch line before working his way towards the box. Near the top right corner, roughly 20 yards out, Dike unloaded a hard shot inside the far post and into the side netting past the diving effort of Zamora.

Puntarenas was able to answer back before the half. In the 33rd minute, midfielder Gabriel Masner chipped a pass into the box for Leal on an over-lapping run down the left side. Open and with a short window of opportunity, Leal was able to hook a shot around Timbers goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski and inside the near post for the 1-1 equalizer.

Portland held a 10-3 advantage in shorts in the opening stanza, with two coming from forward Doug DeMartin. In the 15th minute, he let a shot fly from the top of the box that forced Zamora into a save. Then in the 23rd minute, DeMartin looked to finish a breakaway by Alex Nimo, but that effort also landed in the arms of the Puntarenas goalkeeper.

Defender Scot Thompson unleashed a shot in the 31st minute from the right side that seemed destined for the goal. But, Zamora turned in another timely save and was able to knock Thompson’s shot wide of the frame with a diving effort.

The Timbers opened the second half much the way they finished the first period, dominating possession and creating chances. But it was Puntarenas that took the lead in the 54th minute.

On a run down the right side against the run of play, midfielder Ricardo Garcia served in a long cross to the far side of the box to Diaz. With space, Diaz, a member of the Costa Rican U-20 National Team, one-timed shot into the top right corner of the goal to lift the visiting side to a 2-1 lead.

Puntarenas added to its lead three minutes later in the 57th minute, capitalizing on an error by Portland in the defensive third. Pena picked off a back pass by Thompson intended for Pyzdrowski. He then popped the ball over Pyzdrowski and finished into an open net from eight yards out.

The Timbers gave Puntarenas all they could handle in the second half. Midfielder Takayuki Suzuki had one of his four shots on the night hit off the left post in the 52nd minute. DeMartin had a chance to pull one back in the 81st minute, with a looping header on a second-chance shot that was cleared off the line by a Puntarenas defender.

In the final minutes of the match, defenders Mamadou Danso and Quavas Kirk each had a shot on frame as the Timbers looked to chip away at their deficit. But, Danso’s shot from close range missed the mark and Kirks dipping shot from distance was stopped at the goal line.

After a 13-day break, the Timbers return to league action on Thursday, May 13, as they play host to Crystal Palace Baltimore at PGE Park at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $12 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Notes: Timbers goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski and forward Bright Dike made their first official starts with the club … Earlier in the day, the Timbers’ development team, the Timbers U-23s, announced the addition of New Zealand U-20 National Team goalkeeper Jake Gleeson to their 2010 roster; he came on as a sub in the 82nd minute … DeMartin and Suzuki teamed up for nine of the Timbers 23 shots … Saturday was just the second loss for the Timbers to an international opponent at PGE Park since 2005 ... Forward Mandjou Keita made his 2010 Timbers debut Saturday after returning from his loan spell in India earlier in the week.

Lineups:
POR: GK Pyzdrowski (Gleeson, 82), D Thompson (Kirk, 60), D Keel (Danso, 60), D Purdy, D Cameron, M Nimo, M Lopez, M McManus, M Suzuki (Gaudet, 60), F DeMartin (Keita, 74), F Dike (Obatola, 60)

PFC: GK Zamora (Ruiz, 63), D Compan, D Nunez, D Vasquez (Viquez, 45), M Garcia, M Leal, M Masner (Carruzo, 60), M Sanchez (Farrier, 45), M Campos (Pena, J., 45), F Lara (Pena, D., 45), F Diaz (Perez, 60)

Scoring Summary:
POR: Dike, 22
PFC: Leal (Masner), 33
PFC: Diaz (Garcia), 54
PFC: Pena, D., 57

Timbers Player Ratings (scale of 1-10 as submitted by members of the Portland media)
Starters –
GK – Pyzdrowski – 6, D – Cameron – 7, D – Keel – 4, D – Thompson – 4, D – Purdy – 6, M – Nimo – 6, M – Lopez – 6.5, M – McManus – 6, M – Suzuki – 6.5, F – DeMartin – 7, F – Dike – 7

Subs –
GK – Gleeson – n/a, D – Kirk – 7, D – Danso – 6.5, M – Gaudet – 7, F – Obatola – 7, F – Keita – 7