Portland Timbers midfielder Ryan Pore scored in the opening seconds of the first half, added a second goal in extra time as the first half wound down, and assisted on OJ Obatola’s 61st minute goal to give the Timbers a 3-0 home victory over AC St. Louis before a crowd of 5800 at PGE Park. Pore, an USL-1 All League player in 2009, also scored in Portland’s opener last Saturday.
Portland coach Gavin Wilkinson arrived minutes before game time from a European scouting trip that was delayed by the fallout of volcanic ash, but AC St. Louis looked delayed at the outset as defensive confusion led to Ryan Pore’s easy goal from OJ Obatola about 16 seconds after kickoff. After that shock, the young AC St. Louis squad settled down. Jack Traynor had a well placed free kick into the box in the 20th minute, and in the 29th minute 19-year-old Alex Titton took a through ball near goal but couldn’t get a shot off. Elvir Kafedzic had a dangerous run outside the box, creating a foul, but the resulting free kick deflected high into the air. Shortly afterward, Portland midfielder Tony McManus saved a tying goal as he blocked a headed ball from an AC St. Louis corner kick off the goal line. Towards the end of the half, Elvir Kafedzic suffered a leg/knee injury and was stretchered off the field, to be replaced by Jeff Cosgriff. Defender Mark Bloom made a nice play at the back in the 43rd minute, and Jack Traynor had a scoring opportunity a minute later but shot over the goal. In extra time, a pass back to goal by Jeff Cosgriff, under pressure, was stolen by Portland and George Josten’s pass to a wide open Ryan Pore gave the Timbers a 2-0 halftime lead.
AC St. Louis played fairly evenly as the second half began. In the 48th minute, the slender Titton showed strength inside the box as he muscled around defenders but got off a weak shot. Both he and Cosgriff were called offside early in the half, negating offensive chances. Portland defender Quavas Kirk almost scored off a corner kick, but his header hit the post. In the 59th minute, AC St. Louis goalkeeper made the save of the game, diving to his left to stop a headed ball off a Ryan Pore free kick. Portland’s third goal came minutes later, however, as they pressured the AC St. Louis defense into giving the ball away deep in their own half. Ryan Pore set up OJ Obatola, who’s low left-footed shot from inside the box left Dufty helpless.
AC St. Louis had a final chance for a consolation goal as substitute Anthony O’Garro blasted a wicked 86th minute shot that curled and hit the Portland post. As the game wound down, both Jack Traynor and Christian Nzinga were on the ground with knocks. After some time Traynor was up and off the field and walked on the sideline under his own power. Nzinga appeared to suffer a leg cramp. Midfielders Gilbert Pogosayan and Hagop Chirishian saw the first action of the young season in the last minutes of the contest Troy Cole entered the game in the 67th minute, replacing Ryan Moore.
AC Starting Lineup: Dufty, Bloom, Velten, Traynor, Barna, Kante, Nzinga, Kreamalmeyer, Moore, Titton, Kafedzic
Game Notes: Alex Titton and Dillon Barna made their first regular season starts for AC St. Louis. Elvir’s injury looked serious, as he was on the ground for quite a while and had to be stretchered off. Alec Dufty played with more confidence tonight, but occasional defensive lapses, especially under pressure, are killing the team and put them behind early. Offensively, AC St. Louis had some good moments, but sputtered too much and lacked space.in the opponent’s final third of the field. AC St. Louis never made life difficult for Portland goalkeeper Steve Cronin, despite a few good moments from Titton and Kafedzic. We have a young and inexperienced team, and it will probably struggle awhile longer against more established teams with a more veteran players. Despite this, AC St. Louis has demonstrated through large potions of each game that they can play on an even level with their opponents ….the disappointing mistakes of youth are creating the difference in the final outcome.
Things don’t get easier as AC St. Louis takes an 0-3 record to Vancouver for Saturday’s game, before returning home for a May 1st match against Crystal Palace Baltimore.