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Whitecaps FC fall to 1-0 defeat

August 7, 2009 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Vancouver Whitecaps News Release

PORTLAND, OR - Vancouver Whitecaps FC fell to a 1-0 defeat at Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers on Thursday evening.

A first-half strike by Ryan Pore took the Oregon-based outfit into a tie for first place in the USL First Division standings with a record of 10W-1L-9D. The victory also extended their remarkable single-season unbeaten run in the league to 19 matches and confirmed the Timbers as first-time winners of the fan-based Cascadia Cup competition after winning two of their three regular season contests versus Vancouver.

It was another disappointing evening for the Blue and White in The City of Roses, with the 'Caps seeing their three-match unbeaten run come to an end with Thursday's loss. Vancouver's record falls to 7W-8L-4D and they remain in sixth place in the USL-1 standings.

Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson made six changes to the side that started last Saturday's goalless draw at Cleveland City Stars. Two of those changes in the backline, with Wes Knight and the returning Chris Pozniak coming in for Luca Bellisomo and Takashi Hirano. The two changes in midfield saw a first-ever men's team start for youngster Philippe Davies and the return of Gordon Chin, as the pair replaced Vicente Arze and Kenold Versailles. Thordarson's attack pairing also changed, as Marcus Haber and Marlon James returned in place of Charles Gbeke and Dever Orgill.

Timbers head coach Gavin Wilkinson, meanwhile, made three changes to the side that started last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Minnesota Thunder. In the backline, Takuro Nishimura replaced Scot Thompson, while fellow Japanese player Takayuki Suzuki replaced Keith Savage in midfield. With Ryan Pore supporting Mandjou Keita in attack, Tony McManus returned from suspension to also play in Portland's midfield, with forward George Josten making way.

In front of a vocal Timbers crowd of 10,783 at Portland's PGE Park, the first half saw the home side take control of the contest, as they created the majority of chances. On six minutes, Pore squandered a decent opportunity after mis-hitting a close-range strike from David Hayes' cross from the right. At the other end four minutes later, youngster Davies tried his luck from a Haber lay-off, but his effort flew wide of goal.

Having been in a rich vein of form in front of goal, James then just missed the target with a strike from the edge of the Timbers box after getting the better of Portland defender Cameron Knowles on 16 minutes.

Chances were then traded at both ends, with Whitecaps goalkeeper Jay Nolly stopping a Suzuki shot on 20 minutes before his Timbers counterpart Steve Cronin was able to deny a Pozniak header from captain Martin Nash's corner two minutes later.

Despite being named USL-1 Player of the Week on Tuesday, Tyrell Burgess found the book of match referee Landis Wiley after fouling Suzuki near the edge of the Whitecaps box. Hayes then struck the ensuing free kick right at Nolly on 27 minutes.

Portland, however, looked strong going forward, and on the half-hour mark, the Timbers scored the match winner on the counter-attack. After cleverly dispossessing Nash in the Portland half, McManus took the ball and found fellow midfielder Johan Claesson. The Swede then played a quick pass to Pore, who broke in on the Vancouver goal with fellow striker Keita. Pore then side-stepped Nolly in the Whitecaps box before scoring off the back-tracking Knight to give the Timbers the lead.

The Timbers were in the ascendancy at this stage, with Nolly saving efforts from Portland's two Japanese imports in Nishimura on 33 minutes and Suzuki six minutes later.

Not letting the one-goal deficit get them down, the Whitecaps created the final two chances of the half through Haber. On 42 minutes, the young striker headed Nash's cross wide of goal before the Canadian youth international forced a good save from Cronin in the one minute of time added on.

As a result, the Timbers took a one-goal lead into the halftime break.

Complete match report:

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