Timbers finish off Quakes
A couple of composed finishes have the Portland Timbers moving on in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament.
Jeremy Ebobisse and Dairon Asprilla scored well-taken goals as the Timbers topped the San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0, before a crowd of 12,769 on Wednesday at Providence Park.
The victory advanced Portland into the round of 16 in the 105th edition of the national championship tournament.
The Timbers on Thursday learned they will play host to the Los Angeles Galaxy on June 15. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale at noon Monday.
"I was very pleased, not only because we were able to score the two goals and win the match, but also we showed some maturity with a lot of the young guys," Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese saiid. "We kept the ball. We knew when to move it and when to go forward. All around, I thought it was a great performance by the guys."
The Earthquakes fielded a squad featuring many players who have featured in at least some MLS games this season — among them franchise icon Chris Wondolowski.
The only full-time starter in the Timbers' lineup was midfielder Diego Chara. He is suspended for Saturday's MLS match against Sporting Kansas City, so on Wednesday he provided leadership for a Portland squad that included young midfielders Marvin Loria and Renzo Zambrano.
Bill Tuiloma and MLS veteran Lawrence Olum started in the center of the defense, Vytas got his first start since preseason at left back and Asprilla played in a wide midfield position.
The real youth was in midfield, where 21-year-old Costa Rican Marvin Loria started as an attacking midfielder and 23-year-old Venezuelan Renzo Zambrano started alongside Chara.
Jack Barmby, working his way back from injury, and 21-year-old Eryk Williamson, each played a half on the left side of midfield.
Ebobisse scored in the 28th minute after surprising San Jose's Fatai Alashe to win the ball and break in on goal. Inside the right side of the 18-yard box, Ebobisse put on the breaks, took a touch to his left and calmly served a curving shot inside the left post.
Asprilla doubled the lead in the 66th minute at the end of a counterattack that started with a San Jose corner kick. Chara sprinted into the attacking half and sent a cross-field pass to Asprilla. Alone as he entered the penalty area, Asprilla calmly placed the ball beyond the charging goalkeeper, Andrew Tarbell, and inside the near post.
San Jose produced a few near misses — especially late in the match as the Quakes dumped balls forward into the penalty area. But the Timbers kept the shutout with Kendall McIntosh making one save on a first-half shot from distance that came right at him.
Savarese noted there has been a lot of interchanging between the Timbers and T2 in training and the Timbers staff is keeping close tabs on T2.
"It helps a lot to make sure the players are on the same page," Savarese said. "One of the most important parts is that the mentality is great all around. Everyone wants to compete. Everyone wants to step on the field. And everyone that puts the shirt on wants to represent the team in the best possible way."
McIntosh has been serving as backup for Jeff Attinella with Jake Gleeson injured, so he has not been getting regular game action as he did with T2 earlier this season. The goalkeeper called Wednesday's shutout a confidence boost.
"It will always give you confidence," he said. "Playing well in front of these fans is wonderful. It's an amazing feeling. It makes you hungry. You want to keep doing it."
Adding to the satisfaction for McIntosh — he played for San Jose's youth academy teams starting at age 15.
"It was extra special to get a result against them," McIntosh said. "They're great players, great guys. But it felt good."
Two MLS clubs lost to lower-tier opponents on Wednesday. Seattle fell 2-1 at Sacramento, and Colorado lost 2-0 at Nashville SC.
The Timbers will look to build on a seven-match MLS unbeaten run when they play host to Sporting Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
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