Rodney Wallace scores on this shot to level the match at 2-2

The Portland Timbers returned from a brutal road trip to face Aston Villa from the English Premier League on Tuesday night at JELD-WEN Field, and rallied twice for a 2-2 draw before penalty kicks were used to determine a winner, where the Timbers fell 5-4 in front of another sold out crowd of 20,438.

Both teams would use a mixture of regulars and reserves, with lots of substitutions, especially in the second half.  It was seldom-used Timbers defender Ryan Kawulok who would provide the first good scoring chance, as he laid out to get a header on a free kick from Sal Zizzo in the 11th minute, putting the chance just wide right.  Eleven minutes later, Brent Richards would start a series of good chances with a run own the left side, with Zizzo and Darlington Nagbe getting good looks that were blocked, then Jack Jewsbury scuffing a good chance from near the top of the box.

Kawulok would start a good chance with a long clearance three minutes later that was perfectly into the run of Kris Boyd, but Boyd’s rushed shot from 20 yards out as the defender closed was well over the crossbar.

Aston Villa would have their first good opportunity in the 32nd minute off a corner kick by Barry Bannan when James Collins had an open header near the far post, but put the header just wide left.  Nine minutes later, Bannan produced a good scoring chance himself with a dipping shot from twenty yards out which forced Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins to make a great tip save over the crossbar.

But the Timbers would pay on the ensuing corner kick when it was Claran Clark who had the header chance at the far post, with the header going back towards the near post and slipping into the net for the 1-0 Aston Villa lead, which would be the score at the break.

In the 57th minute, the Timbers would produce a good corner kick chance of their own when Richards got his head to a Zizzo corner kick, but put the shot just over the crossbar.  Three minutes later, Portland’s Freddie Braun recovered well after stumbling near the side of the box to find Lovel Palmer charging to the top of the box, but the Timbers midfielder’s one-timer was well over the crossbar.

Villa would have a great chance to double the lead in the 66th minute when Charles N’Zogbia made a nice cut near the side of the Timbers box to give himself an open look from 12 yards out, but put the shot just wide of the right post.

In the 75th,Portland’s Braun had a good chance when he pounced on a rebound and his shot from 12 yards out would rebound off an Aston Villa player and over the crossbar.  But the Timbers would take advantage of the corner kick when Franck Songo’o‘s corner was headed towards net by Kawulok, then redirected into the net from only a yard or two out by Sebastián Rincón, who was parked right in front of Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, and the score was now level at 1-1.

But only four minutes later, the visitors would re-take the lead off yet another corner kick when Matthew Lowton knocked home a flick-on from Nathan Baker, and the Villa lead was 2-1.

But the Timbers would respond again, this time when Timbers midfielder Rodney Wallace did well to fight off several challenges, then hit a shot from 20 yards out that rebounded off a Villa defender, and the ricochet would slip just over Guzan and inside the right post, and the score was once again level, this time at 2-2.

Portland’s Mike Fucito had a good chance to put the Timbers in the lead when he ran into a through ball four minutes later, but put the shot over the crossbar.  Villa would have a chance to steal the win in the 90th minute when N’Zogbia had an open look from the top of the Timbers box, but goalkeeper Joe Bendik, who had played the second half, made a diving save to his right to stop the shot, and the match would end at 2-2.

But for this exhibition it had been decided that penalty kicks would decide it, and after both teams converted their first four, it was Portland’s Bright Dike who would be stopped by Guzan on a diving save to the keeper’s left, setting up Samir Carruthers with the chance to win the shootout, and Villa would take the win as Carruthers roofed the shot to Bendik’s left, and would seal the 5-4 shootout win.

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