SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Portland Timbers wrapped up their first MLS preseason schedule with a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes in a scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Timbers were unbeaten in their eight preseason matches leading up to their inaugural 2011 Major League Soccer season.
Eric Brunner’s goal off a cross from newly appointed captain Jack Jewsbury gave Portland the advantage in the 52nd minute, but Chris Wondolowski leveled the match in the 69th minute by converting a penalty kick after being taken down in the box.
In its first preseason as an MLS side, Portland finished with a 2-0-6 record and received all seven of its goals from seven different goal scorers. The Timbers’ backline recorded four shutouts and conceded just four goals throughout the eight-game preseason.
“I think we’ve proved we can keep clean sheets, I think we’ve proved we’re hard to break down at times, and we feel that we’ve got some pieces on our team that can create, take chances and score,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said following the final preseason test.
The Timbers begin their historic inaugural MLS season on Saturday, March 19, on the road against the defending-MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park at 6 p.m. (Pacific).
The teams exchanged quality chances in the first half Saturday, with Jorge Perlaza forcing San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch into a diving stop in the seventh minute. The Earthquakes looked in a favorable position to take the lead in the 34th minute as the ball was loose in the six-yard box while goalkeeper Troy Perkins was being shielded away, but Brunner managed to keep Ryan Johnson from getting a clear look and the ball trailed off to the right of the Portland goal.
After the scoreless first half, the Timbers found the back of the net just seven minutes into the second stanza. The play originated on a corner kick by Jewsbury that the Earthquakes were unable to clear. Jewsbury collected the ball and whipped in a cross from the left of the box that found Brunner at the penalty spot. Brunner then buried a shot in the top left side of the goal for the 1-0 lead.
The advantage was short-lived, however, as Wondolowski won a penalty after Kevin Goldthwaite took him down in the area on a free kick by Bobby Convey. Wondolowski, the reigning MLS Golden Boot winner, slotted a shot to the lower right side of the goal past Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins to knot the score.
An apparent go-ahead tally in the 81st minute saw Kalif Alhassan slotting through a ball to Ryan Pore behind the San Jose defenders on the right wing, but Pore was ruled offside as his shot found the back of the net.
The Timbers’ First Kick on March 19 will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Soccer Channel and throughout the Northwest on FSN Northwest (ROOT SPORTS). A live radio broadcast will be available on 750 KXL and in Spanish on La Pantera 940 AM.
POR: Brunner (Jewsbury) 52
SJ: Chris Wondolowski (penalty) 69
POR: Lowry (caution) 49
POR: Jewsbury (caution) 67
SJ: Chris Leitch (caution) 72, (caution) 72
SJ: Hernandez (caution) 84.
POR: GK Perkins, D Purdy, D Brunner, D Goldthwaite, D Hall, M Zizzo (Umony 39), M Lowry (Alhassan 60), M Jewsbury, M Pore, F Cooper, F Perlaza
SJ: GK Busch, D Leitch (Beitashour 73), D Hernandez, D McDonald, D Corrales, M Stephenson, M Cronin, M Wondolowski, F Gjertsen, F Johnson (McLoughlin 73), F Convey
· Timbers midfielder Sal Zizzo went down with an injury and was taken out in the 39th minute. He returned to the field in the second half with a sling on his right arm and will be re-evaluated in Portland.
· The Timbers were 1-0-5 against MLS teams in preseason, beating Seattle and drawing LA Galaxy, Houston, Sporting Kansas City, Vancouver and San Jose.
· Seven different players accounted for Portland’s seven goals in preseason, with Darlington Nagbe, Brian Umony, Eddie Johnson, Jorge Perlaza, Kenny Cooper, Ryan Pore and Eric Brunner scoring.
· Single-game tickets for the Timbers’ inaugural MLS season go on sale March 21.
Timbers Preseason Results (2-0-6):
Friday, Feb. 4 – Timbers draw Ventura County Fusion 1-1 at Ventura College in Ventura, Calif. (Nagbe)
Tuesday, Feb. 8 – Timbers draw LA Galaxy 1-1 at The Home Depot Center (track & field stadium) in Carson, Calif. (Umony)
Saturday, Feb. 19 – Timbers draw Houston Dynamo 0-0 at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz.
Saturday, Feb. 19 – Timbers vs. U.S. U-18 National Team cancelled (weather)
Wednesday, Feb. 23 – Timbers defeat Montreal 1-0 at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz. (Johnson)
Saturday, Feb. 26 – Timbers draw Sporting Kansas City 0-0 at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz.
Friday, March 4 – Timbers defeat Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. (Perlaza, Cooper)
Saturday, March 5 – Timbers draw Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-1 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. (Pore)
Saturday, March 12 – Timbers draw San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (Brunner)