Eddie Johnson #2, Timbers vs. TFC, 7.30.11
Photo by Steel Brooks

RECAP: Newcomers help TFC rally for 2-2 tie at Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. — Two of rebuilt Toronto FC’s new recruits came up huge Saturday night, as Peri Marosevic and Danny Koevermans scored their first goals in red to help TFC rally in the final 20 minutes to stun the Portland Timbers for a 2-2 draw at JELD-WEN Field.

The result snaps a four-game losing streak for Toronto, while the Timbers — who nursed a 2-0 advantage until the 71st minute — have failed to win a home game since May 16 and are now winless in nine of their last 10 games. And in the last month-and-a-half at home, Portland have squandered a 3-1 second-half lead in a 3-3 tie against New York and leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in a 3-2 loss against Seattle.

Portland, trying to ignite a second-half playoff run, came into the match sporting a fresh look with both Mike Chabala and Lovel Palmer — new players obtained in a trade with Houston — included as part of a number of changes to the starting lineup.

The changes seem to have worked early — at least against the team with the worst defensive record in MLS — as forward Eddie Johnson, making just his second start of the season, got the Timbers on the board first off a counter.

In the 22nd minute, Toronto attacker Joao Plata put a shot off the left goalpost. The ball eventually fell to Sal Zizzo, who advanced to Diego Chara on the left wing as the TFC defense swarmed around him. That enabled Chara to find Johnson open in the middle of the field. The English forward promptly capitalized with a blast that sailed just inside the goalpost and past a diving Stefan Frei.

Portland added another roughly 10 minutes after the half after Chara was dragged down by Toronto defender Andy Iro in the box. Head official Kevin Stott pointed to the spot, and captain Jack Jewsbury continued the celebrations at JELD-WEN Field by converting past Frei in the 57th minute to give the Timbers a 2-0 lead.

But then Portland fell prey again to their habit of squandering leads at home. Toronto’s first goal came in the 71st minute when the Timbers failed to clear in the box, allowing the ball to rattle around in front of Perkins’ goal. Koevermans pounced on the loose ball and sent a cross to Marosevic — signed by TFC on Friday after his release from FC Dallas — for the cool finish.

Eleven minutes later, the Reds completed their unlikely comeback when Plata sent a cross into the box that Koevermans right-footed past a diving Troy Perkins for his second MLS goal since joining the team earlier this month.

Portland, who walked off the pitch to a spattering of boos from the normally loyal Timbers Army, next play host next to the first-place LA Galaxy on Aug. 3 before three road games.

Toronto next travel to Nicaragua to face Real Estelí on Aug. 2 in the second leg of their preliminary CONCACAF Champions League tie before heading to D.C. United four days later.

Scoring Summary:
POR -- Eddie Johnson 1 (Diego Chara 2, Sal Zizzo 1) 23
POR -- Jack Jewsbury 6 (penalty kick) 57
TOR -- Peri Marosevic 1 (unassisted) 71
TOR -- Danny Koevermans 2 (Joao Plata 4) 81

Misconduct Summary:
TOR -- Ty Harden (caution; Reckless Tackle) 39
POR -- Diego Chara (caution; Reckless Tackle) 46+
POR -- Mike Chabala (caution; Reckless Tackle) 51


Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Ty Harden (Javier Martina 68), Ashtone Morgan, Richard Eckersley, Andy Iro, Julian de Guzman (Terry Dunfield 61), Torsten Frings, Ryan Johnson, Nick Soolsma (Peri Marosevic 46), Danny Koevermans, Joao Plata.

Substitutes Not Used: Danleigh Borman, Doneil Henry, Matt Stinson, Milos Kocic.

Portland Timbers -- Troy Perkins, Lovel Palmer, Eric Brunner, David Horst, Mike Chabala, Sal Zizzo, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan (Kenny Cooper 74), Darlington Nagbe (Jorge Perlaza 82), Eddie Johnson.

Substitutes Not Used: Mamadou Danso, James Marcelin, Brian Umony, Rodney Wallace, Adin Brown.

Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: Adam Wienckowski; Brian Poeschel
4th Official: Matthew Foerster
Attendance: 18,627
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Sunny and 83 degrees