Toronto leaves Timbers at a 2-0 loss
TORONTO - It's a common lament in soccer: The losing team often feels it was the better team on the day.
That was the case Saturday after the disappointed Portland Timbers failed to score and fell to 0-2-0 in MLS, losing 2-0 at previously winless Toronto FC.
"I don't think the best team won the game," Portland coach John Spencer said.
Toronto, a team in disarray after an 0-for-4 history in making the MLS playoffs and a 4-2 loss to expansion Vancouver to open the 2011 season, got better in a hurry on Saturday. Javier Martina scored the first of his two goals in the 14th minute to fuel the victory before an announced crowd of 20,086 at chilly BMO Field.
Martina scored again in the 70th minute to all but wrap up the win.
Spencer, however, sounded more impressed with his own side, at least for the bulk of the match.
"Individually and collectively, from the first goal to the second goal, I felt we totally dominated the game," he said. "Our work ethic was very good, and we kept them in their own end. We just had a couple of mistakes."
The most costly came on the first goal, which came after a through ball enabled Toronto to make a tap-back pass to an oncoming Martina, a 24-year-old Dutch winger.
Martina beat goalie Adin Brown from close range.
It was the second time in two MLS games that the Timbers had allowed a goal in the first 15 minutes. They gave up a score to Colorado in the 15th minute last week on the way to a 3-1 road loss.
Brown gave way to rookie Jake Gleeson to start the second half, after Brown tweaked a hamstring.
"We didn't want to take any chances (with Brown)," said Spencer, adding that Brown might be out "for a few days to a week."
The Timbers, already without No. 1 goalkeeper Troy Perkins (sprained knee), will meet Chivas USA in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier Tuesday night at Merlo Field, before traveling to New England for a 4:30 p.m. PT Saturday road MLS match. The Revolution (1-1-0) defeated visiting DC United 2-1 on Saturday.
Martina's second goal against the Timbers was a beauty - a long-distance volley off a goal kick.
"Last week, we gave up one very, very goal and two goals that could have been avoided," Spencer said. "(Toronto's) first goal could have been avoided, but the second goal was a good one."
Gleeson finished with three saves in his MLS debut.
Said Spencer: think he did fantastic. He didn't do anything that I didn't expect him to do. I think he's a fantastic young goalkeeper that could possibly go on to play at the highest of levels. That's how well we rate him and how high we think he should go in his future."
The game-time temperature was 25 degrees, with the wind-chill reportedly about 15 and snow on the ground outside the field.
The Timbers outshot Toronto 11-10 and had a 9-4 edge in corner kicks but couldn't produce. Portland didn't get a shot on goal until the second half.
"Attacking from wide areas is a big plus for us," Spencer said, "but we just couldn't get enough quality crosses."
Forward Kenny Cooper, who scored for Portland last week on a late-game free kick, attempted three shots at the Toronto defense. He had scored six goals in four career games against the Reds.
In the second half, Portland inserted defender Sal Zizzo and recently acquired forward Brian Umony for their first action of the season. Zizzo had missed the opener with an injury.
Toronto played the last 10 minutes a man down but never was in danger.
Still, for the Timbers, the performance was said to be a sign of progress.
"I think for the majority of the game, we pushed the game to them," said midfielder/captain Jack Jewsbury. "Again, just a few mistakes on our part, and they capitalized on them. We need to make sure that we try to shore those things up, but at the same time I think if we bring that fight and that energy like we did tonight we will be on the other end as well."
Spencer said he was happy with the way his club kept fighting and was "trying to get something out of the game."
Cooper said he felt the Timbers "had good possession and pressed them well, but unfortunately, they took their chances and we didn't. Definitely, it's a disappointing result. We haven't got off to the best start, but it's a good group of guys with great character. We really got to roll our sleeves up and get that first win."
Through two weeks of the season, the MLS Western Conference standings look like this:
Real Salt Lake 2-0-0, 6 points
Colorado 2-0-0, 6
L.A. Galaxy 1-1-1, 4
Vancouver 1-0-1, 3 and #8232;San Jose 1-0-1, 3
Dallas 0-1-1, 1
Seattle 0-1-2, 1
Chivas USA 0-0-2, 0
Portland 0-0-2, 0