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Vics mauled by tough Timbers, 3-0

July 8, 2007 - USL First Division (USL-1) - California Victory News Release

SAN FRANCISCO (July 7, 2007) -- The California Victory slumped to another home loss Saturday, falling 3-0 to the Portland Timbers at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.

It's the Vics' third loss this year to the Timbers -- a team they have to play twice more before the season is out.

Portland midfielder Andrew Gregor netted a penalty, with Bryan Jordan and Cameron Knowles adding to a first-half rout that took just nine minutes.

"I'm disappointed," said Victory head coach Glenn Van Straatum. "We played well for the first fifteen or twenty minutes, but we then we made it hard for ourselves. I'm not completely dissatisfied with the effort but we should not let ourselves get in these situations."

The Victory again found it tough penetrating the solid Portland defense -- despite recording 17 shots on the night. Timber 'keeper Josh Wicks was superb between the sticks, recording his third straight shutout while leading a backline that has conceded the fewest goals in the league this season.

At the onset the game looked like it might be a repeat of the last meeting between these two clubs -- a cagey, defensive affair with little opportunity.

Yet it opened up when the Victory's Matt Fitzgerald -- who worked tirelessly most the night -- overlapped well with Omar Aguayo before launching the ball into the box. His cross found Mike Muñoz, who shot high and wide.

But just seconds later, in the 11th minute, Victory captain Chris Schwarze fouled Portland's Gregor in the Victory box, leaving the referee no choice but to award a penalty. The Portland midfielder then stepped up and buried his shot low and to the right.

The visitors were at it again just minutes later when a free kick from the right was flicked on to Bryan Jordan, who netted for his second of the season.

And when Cameron Knowles nodded in Gregor's free kick in the 20th minute, it looked like it would be a long night for the Victory.

But the Vics were able to keep the Timbers at three, and in the second half had a sack-load of chances.

Forward Aaron Chandler made his Victory debut and had two shots on goal, and while Juan Epitie, Josh Hansen, Muñoz and Omar Aguayo all contributed, in the end the finishing was poor.

Portland's only real chance beyond the first-half goal-fest came through Justin Thompson, who glanced a header midway through the second half for Jakubek to comfortably save.

"I've got to give credit to Portland in terms of their persistence in defending," said Van Straatum. "They play a simple game with a lot of long balls, but it's effective."

Added the Victory coach, "We play these guys twice more this next week so we have to find a way to break through their defense. We can't stop attacking. We have to work on getting points out of them."

The Victory's next challenge will be against MLS side Colorado Rapids Tuesday in a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup third round fixture.

Colorado are enduring their own problems in front of goal at the moment, having scored just once in their last five games.

"We have to prepare ourselves for Tuesday," said Van Straatum. "We cant dwell on this loss -- we have to focus on the positives. We are still in the cup."

Following Tuesday's cup game the Vics play two straight at Portland -- the first on July 13, which will be televised LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel at 8 p.m., the second on July 15.

California returns home for a July 17 fixture against Atlanta Silverbacks.

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