March 17, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Portland Timbers
TUKWILA, Wash. - The Portland Timbers Reserves opened their 2013 MLS Reserve League season on Sunday, defeating the Seattle Sounders FC Reserves 1-0 on a late game-winning goal by forward Jose Valencia at Starfire Sports Complex.
Valencia found the decisive goal in the 86th minute, finishing a feed from midfielder Steven Evans off a corner kick play to help lead the Timbers Reserves (1-0-0, 3pts) to the season-opening victory. The two sides exchanged chances throughout the match, but Timbers goalkeepers Milos Kocic and Jake Gleeson combined for two saves to record the shutout.
The Timbers Reserves and Sounders FC Reserves (0-1-0, 0pts) entered halftime scoreless, but Portland held the advantage in shots, 7-4, during the first half and forced Sounders FC goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann to make four saves. Portland forward Frederic Piquionne had two shots on goal, including a low, hard shot in the sixth minute at the right post. Hahnemann made another save on a driven shot by Evans from the top of the box in the 43rd minute.
The Sounders FC Reserves found a spark in the second half, attempting 11 shots in the half, but the Timbers Reserves defense held firm. Gleeson tipped a looping shot off course in the opening moments of the second half by Sounders FC midfielder Alex Caskey. Sounders FC Academy player Jordan Morris created several close scoring chances during the second half for Seattle, including a shot in the 88th minute that rolled across the goal mouth.
Portland was able to put Seattle under pressure late in the match, earning a series of corner kicks that eventually led to the game's lone goal by Valencia in the final minutes. The Sounders FC Reserves, however, nearly struck for the equalizer in the 88th minute when midfielder Lamar Neagle's header off a corner kick hit the base of the right post.
The Timbers Reserves play the Colorado Rapids Reserves in their next match Sunday, March 31, at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.; kickoff is set for 11 a.m. (Pacific).