Cobi Jones, Timbers vs. LA, 4.9.02
Photo by Peter Bellerby

#ThrowbackThursday | The Portland Timbers took on the LA Galaxy for the first time in 2002

Before David Beckham ever came to City of Angels and before the Portland Timbers ascended to Major League Soccer, the Timbers and the LA Galaxy squared off for the very first time in front of a crowd of 6,694 fans at then-named PGE Park. Playing in the A-League--the precursor to the USL First Division--the first-ever matchup between the two clubs saw the A-League Timbers grab a 2-1 victory in a preseason friendly on Apr. 9, 2002. 

The match-up was the first competitive game Portland played in its second season since being reborn as a USL franchise in 2001. Both players who scored that night for Portland went onto have careers with the Timbers that left them among the all-time leaders for the club.

Making his club debut, Hugo Alcarez-Cuellar (above) notched the first goal of the match when moments before the halftime whistle, putting a shot past LA's 'keeper Kevin Hartman. Alcarez-Cuellar's Timbers career saw him end in the top 10 for Timbers in career points (64), assists (44), and games played (132).

The other Timbers goal that day, one that stood as the eventual game-winner, was scored by defender Gavin Wilkinson, who finished his career with 124 games played in a Timbers uniform. The current general manager of the club gave Portland a 2-0 lead that day when he headed in a corner kick from rookie Ben Somoza.

Brian Mullan scored a late goal for the Galaxy, but it wasn’t enough as Portland held on for the victory. Led by the likes of Cobi Jones and Carlos Ruiz, LA went on to win both the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup during the 2002 season. In fact, the loss might have been a good omen for the club since they became the second straight team to lose to the Timbers in a preseason friendly before winning MLS Cup later in the season (San Jose, 2001). 

The MLS Timbers host the LA Galaxy Sunday at Providence Park (4pm PT, FOX Sports 1).

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