February 23, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Portland Timbers
PORTLAND, Ore. - Defender Michael Harrington delivered the late equalizer and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made four saves as the Portland Timbers closed the 2013 preseason with a 1-1 draw against Swedish first-division club AIK before 14,968 fans in the final match of the Portland Preseason Tournament on Saturday night at JELD-WEN Field.
The Timbers put AIK under pressure the entire match, taking 22 shots and forcing AIK goalkeeper Ivan Turina to make 11 saves. But it was AIK who struck first, staking a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute on a goal by forward Henok Goitom. Portland's pressure eventually paid off 15 minutes from time when Harrington was able to deliver the equalizer to help the Timbers (3-2-2 preseason) cap preseason with a 1-1 draw.
Goitom gave AIK the lead just before the half hour, with a well-placed shot from inside the box. He was on the receiving end of a through ball down the left side of the penalty area and was able to get around Ricketts near the end line. Goitom then slipped a shot from a tight angle just inside the far post and into the side netting for the goal. It was AIK's first goal scored during the Portland Preseason Tournament.
The Timbers opened the second half with six consecutive shots on goal - all saved by Turina. In the 75th minute, Harrington was able to unlock the AIK defense to pull the Timbers level. He started the play with a pass to forward Darlington Nagbe deep in the box on the left side, and Nagbe returned a pass to Harrington cutting into the penalty area. Harrington then placed a sharply hit ball under Turina's diving effort and inside the right post. His strike was the only goal conceded by AIK during its three matches in Portland.
Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri took a team-high five shots, putting four of those on goal. In the 51st minute, he nearly struck for his second free-kick goal of the preseason, dropping a shot from 30 yards out on the left side at the base of the near post, but Turina was up for the task and made the save.
Ricketts recorded three of his four saves in the second half to keep AIK at bay. He tipped another shot by Goitom from inside the box over the crossbar in the 53rd minute and then made a diving save on a shot by midfielder Nabil Bahoui from close range five minutes later.
The Timbers thought to have secured the game-winning goal in second-half stoppage time as midfielder Will Johnson tapped the ball into the back of the net following a sequence of chances inside the box, but the goal was waived off due to an offside call.
The Timbers open their third Major League Soccer campaign on Sunday, March 3, as they play host to the New York Red Bulls at JELD-WEN Field, presented by Alaska Airlines, at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) on ESPN2.