April 7, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Portland Timbers
PORTLAND, Ore. - Midfielder Michael Nanchoff registered a goal and an assist and forward Jose Valencia tallied the game-winner as the Portland Timbers Reserves defeated USL PRO side VSI Tampa Bay FC 2-1 on Sunday afternoon before 1,803 fans at JELD-WEN Field.
The interleague match between the Timbers Reserves and VSI Tampa Bay FC was played as part of a new player development partnership between Major League Soccer and United Soccer Leagues formed earlier this year. Sunday's match was the first of several matches between MLS Reserve sides and USL PRO teams to be played in 2013.
The two clubs combined for all three goals in the second half. The Timbers Reserves opened the scoring on a penalty-kick goal by Nanchoff eight minutes into the second half. After VSI Tampa Bay FC leveled in the 59th minute, Nanchoff initiated the play that led to the game-winning strike by Valencia just nine minutes from time as the Timbers Reserves recorded their second victory of the season.
Valencia struck for his second game-winning goal of the season, Nanchoff tallied his first goal on the campaign and goalkeeper Jake Gleeson made six saves to pick up his second win for the Timbers Reserves (2-1-0, 6pts) in their MLS Reserve League home opener. Portland took a season-high eight corner kicks against VSI Tampa Bay FC.
Forward Mauricio Salles scored his first goal of the season and took a team-high seven shots, defender Jean Jacques Bitielo registered his first assist and goalkeeper Alex Horwath recorded four saves for VSI Tampa Bay FC (1-2-0, 3pts), playing its inaugural season in USL PRO.
The Timbers Reserves claimed the initial lead in the 53rd minute on Nanchoff's penalty-kick goal. Forward SebastiÃÂ¡n RincÃ"n was clipped from behind by VSI Tampa Bay FC defender Alex Freitas as he charged through the left side of the penalty area. Nanchoff drilled the penalty kick down the right side for his first goal of the season.
VSI Tampa Bay FC pulled level less than 10 minutes later as Salles was able to get in behind the Timbers Reserves backline on a long ball played in by Bitielo from the left side. Salles out-jumped his marker and knocked the ball over the goal line near the back post, tying the score at 1-1.
A build-up from midfield sparked by Nanchoff led to the decisive goal in the 81st minute. Nanchoff slipped a pass down the right side for RincÃ"n, who then crossed the ball in on goal. On a well-timed run at the near post, Valencia was in position to tap the ball in from close range and lift the Timbers Reserves to the 2-1 victory. Valencia also scored the winner in a 1-0 season-opening win over the Seattle Sounders FC Reserves on March 17.
The match opened up after a scoreless first half, as both sides combined for 19 shots in the second half. Salles attempted six of his seven shots in the second half, forcing Gleeson to make many of his five second-half saves.
The Timbers Reserves and VSI Tampa Bay FC finish their season home-and-away series on Saturday, June 1 in Tampa, Fla.
The Timbers Reserves play host to the San Jose Earthquakes Reserves in their next match on Monday, April 15, at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (Pacific). Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase at the JELD-WEN Field box office and online at www.portlandtimbers.com.