GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Contesting their first-ever match in CONCACAF Champions League (CCL), the Portland Timbers earned a decisive victory with two goals in each half of a 4-1 win over Guyanese side Alpha United FC on Tuesday night in a CCL Group 5 match at Providence Stadium in Georgetown, Guyana.
The tournament-opening result moves the Timbers (1-0-0, 3pts) into first place in Group 5 on goal differential (+3), while Honduran club C.D. Olimpia (1-0-0, 3pts) drops to second place and Alpha United FC (0-2-0, 0pts) remains in last place, winless through two matches.
Playing in hot and humid conditions, midfielder Steve Zakuani, forwards Maximiliano Urruti and Fanendo Adi and defender Alvas Powell each tallied goals as the Timbers displayed their squad depth in the road win. All 11 of Portland’s starters on Tuesday against Alpha United have earned MLS regular-season playing time in 2014, while only Adi, Urruti, Zakuani and midfielder Rodney Wallace saw action on Saturday in Portland’s regular-season match against New England at Gillette Stadium.
Opening the scoring for the Timbers in the 18th minute, Zakuani registered the first goal in Portland’s CONCACAF Champions League history with a low strike inside the far right post. The goal also was Zakuani’s first with the Timbers in all competitions after joining the team prior to the 2014 MLS season. Igniting the scoring opportunity, midfielder Ben Zemanski intercepted an Alpha United pass and found midfielder Kalif Alhassan near the halfway line, who slipped a well-placed through ball to Zakuani in stride on the left side of the box for the goal.
Alhassan finished the match with two assists, while Powell added one and goalkeeper Andrew Weber made four saves.
Portland doubled its lead in the first half when midfielder Michael Nanchoff played a ball to Alhassan near the top of the penalty box. Alhassan flicked the ball into the path of Urruti, who found himself alone inside the box and fired a low drive past Alpha United goalkeeper Ronson Williams in the 34th minute.
The home side pulled a goal back moments before halftime as defender Barbosa Murilo delivered a curling free kick from long distance that beat Weber inside the upper left corner in the 45th minute.
Moments after Nanchoff rattled the crossbar with a shot from distance, Adi renewed Portland’s two-goal lead with a shot from close range. Finding space on the right side of the box, Powell sent a short cross to Adi, who slotted the ball into the back of the net from the top of the goal box in the 65th minute.
Powell added his name to the score sheet late in the match, registering his first career goal for the Timbers in the 83rd minute. Closing the scoring for Portland, the defender converted a rebound in front of goal after Williams mishandled a short cross from Wallace.
CONCACAF Champions League – Group 5
Portland Timbers (1-0-0, 3pts) at Alpha United FC (0-2-0, 0pts)
Aug. 19, 2014 – Providence Stadium (Georgetown, Guyana)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 2 2 4
Alpha United FC 1 0 1
POR: Zakuani (Alhassan), 18
POR: Urruti (Alhassan), 34
ALU: Murilo, 45
POR: Adi (Powell), 65
POR: Powell, 83
POR: Jewsbury (Caution), 58
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Weber, D Powell, D McKenzie, D Kah, D Villafaña, M Zemanski, M Alhassan, M Jewsbury ©, F Nanchoff (Peay, 82), F Urruti (Adi, 56), F Zakuani (Wallace, 64)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gleeson, D Gallego, M Evans, F Tshuma
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Adi, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Adi, 2); FOULS: 17 (Powell, 5); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 4
ALU: GK Williams, D Ellis, D Oliveira, D Murilo, D Jack, M Peters, M Dos Santos, M Paredes, M Vargas (Jacobs, 52), F Bain (Primo, 57), F Richardson (Holder, 83)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Sandy, D Adams, D Camacho, D Madramootoo, M Benfield, M Moffat, M Murray, M Wilson
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Richardson, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 11 (Jacobs, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 4
Referee: Jeffery Solis
Assistant Referees: Hermenerito Leal, Graeme Brown
4th Official: Ricardo Cerdas
Time of Game: n/a
Weather: Humid, 77 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial