Timbers, Pilots end preseason match in scoreless draw

PORTLAND, Ore. – Behind a collective team effort, the Portland Timbers found their offensive rhythm, but settled for a scoreless draw against the University of Portland Pilots Friday night at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex.

Forwards George Josten and Mandjou Keita and midfielder Jason McLaughlin each recorded a pair of shots on the night to lead the Timbers as they out-shot the Pilots 13-2. The tandem of newly signed goalkeeper Brian Visser and Steve Cronin teamed up to log the Timbers second consecutive shutout in preseason play.

Goalkeeper Austin Guerrero recorded eight saves on the night for the Pilots to keep the Timbers off the board.

The Timbers controlled the pace of the game in first half generating five shots on goal which narrowly missed their mark. McLaughlin was involved in most of the Timbers scoring chances in the opening period, recording two shots and set up two others. In the 31st minute, McLaughlin had a header from eight yards out cleared away by Guerrero.

But it was rookie midfielder Josh Cameron who had the Timbers best chance of the night, coming in first half stoppage time. Trialist defender Takuro Nishimura started the play and helped work the ball wide right to McLaughlin on the wing. McLaughlin then crossed the ball to the back post for Cameron, who was able to get his head on the ball. His shot from inside the six yard box bounced off the ground and over the goal clearing the cross bar by mere inches.

Around the half-hour mark the Timbers were forced to sub out Visser, who started the game. Signed by the Timbers earlier in the day, Visser collided with Pilots midfielder Collen Warner while challenging for a loose ball in the box and received a cut over his eye. He was replaced by Cronin.

The Pilots’ one shot on goal in the first half came in the 39th minute, when forward Frankie Lopez raced down the left sideline and fired a shot from 12 yards out into the chest of Cronin.  

Portland continued to pepper the Pilots goal with shots in the second half. Keita, who arrived in training camp earlier in the week, had a shot to put the Timbers on the board in the 66th minute, but his chance off a cross from Nishimura skimmed over the cross bar.

In the 76th minute, new defender David Hayes forced Guerrero to make one of his four second-half saves with a 30-yard free kick aimed inside the left post.

The Timbers backline, led by Cameron Dunn, did not allow the Pilots to take a shot in the second half.

Friday’s match was the Timbers’ final preseason exhibition event leading up to the 2009 USL First Division campaign. The team will face the Vancouver Whitecaps in an informal scrimmage in Burnaby, B.C. on April 3.

Notes: The Timbers debuted their new black alternate uniforms against the Pilots ... Trialist defenders Kyle Schmid and Mamadou Danso each saw time during Friday’s match. Danso, who arrived in Portland Thursday, recorded two shots … Defender Dieumerci Vua made his first appearance as a member of the Timbers Friday … Goalkeepers Visser and Cronin recorded just one total save to pick up the team’s second shutout in preseason.

POR: GK Visser (Cronin, 35), D Nishimura (Hayes, 75), D Vua, D Schmid (Danso, 45), D Dunn, M Cameron (Suzuki, 75), M Poltl (McManus, 45), M Kwesele, M McLaughlin (Nimo, 45), F Jallow (Keita, 45), F Josten

UP (Starters): GK Guerrero, D Chrostek, D Kawulok, D Kraus, D VanSchaik, M Nielsen, M Warner, M Rouse, M Davidovic, F Emory, F Lopez

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