Timbers shut out shorthanded Minnesota United by 4-0 score
The Portland Timbers opened their 2016 home exhibition schedule with a 4-0 win over Minnesota United from the NASL (not the 70’s version) with goals by Fanendo Adi, Lucas Melano, Darlington Nagbe, and Diego Valeri. Adi and Valeri’s goals were on penalty kicks (both drawn by Valeri) and Minnesota finished the match with nine men on the pitch. 13,431 fans attended on a chilly night at Providence Park.
Fanendo Adi opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Diego Valeri was tripped near the top of the box by Minnesota’s Aaron Pitchkolan. Adi slid his shot low to the right and into the net to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead. The Timbers added another goal ten minutes before halftime when a low cross by Diaron Asprilla was put on goal by Lucas Melano and saved by Minnesota keeper Sammy Ndjock, but he could not control the rebound and Melano recovered to put the rebound home and the Timbers were up 1-0. Near the end of the first half, the visitors would go down a man when Minnesota defender Tiago Calvano was ejected for a hard tackle on Valeri.
Just after halftime, the visitors had a good chance to pull a goal back when a blast from Bernardo Anor from just outside the box had be tipped over the bar by Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey. On the ensuing corner kick, Minnesota’s Brent Kallman rose well to get his head on the ball, but his header would slip just past the right post. In the 56th minute, the Timbers would add another goal as Darlington Nagbe and Valeri played a nice give-and-go near the top of the Minnesota box, with Nagbe keeping the ball on his feet as he slipped around Ndjock, and easily tapped into an empty net for a 3-0 lead. Eight minutes later, Minnesota had yet another player sent off for a hard tackle on Valeri, this time by Kevin Venegas inside the Minnesota box, and it was Valeri who stepped up to take the penalty and the shot was low to the left this time and inside the post for a 4-0 lead.
Minnesota had a few good late chances to get on the scoreboard, with Juliano Vincentini getting a tight angle chip shot over Kwarasey in the 74th minute, but it slipped just past the post to preserve the shutout.
The Simple Invitational continues on Wednesday with Minnesota taking on the Chicago Fire at 5pm, and the Timbers hosting the Vancouver Whitecaps at 7:30pm.