:: Northern Nevada Aces 1 v 4 Portland Timbers (OT) ::

Well, as Bobby Howe commented, playing Northern Nevada the very next day after the loss to Utah at least gave the Timbers a chance to get the taste of the overtime loss out of their mouths quickly.

After more "interesting travel stories" which resulted in Assistant Coach Jimmy Conway not making it to Reno, the game kicked off at Wooster High School to the fading sounds of the mariachi band.

Bobby Howe was again playing 3 at the back: Chulis at left back, Wilkinson and Sancho (Scott Benedetti having returned to Oregon for a prior engagement). Neil Ryan getting his first game on the right side of midfield with Keith Costigan on the left, Brian Winters playing just in front of the back 3, Vadim (returning from suspension - 3 games, down to 1 after an appeal) and Michael O'Neill made up the rest of midfield. Darren Sawatsky, playing further forward and Mark Baena up front completed the line-up.

The game started cautiously but with the Timbers getting lots of men forward (Bobby had commented before the game that one aim was to keep the ball in the opposition's third of the field, something they had failed to do against Utah). The first action came after 6' with Vadim having a shot blocked and putting the follow up wide after a Timbers corner. Sawatsky shot over from 20yds and a minute later took the ball around keeper Buchanan but faced with a tight angle had to pull the ball back and Mark Baena's shot was blocked.

The Timbers were getting lots of shots on goal but more often than not the Aces defenders would block well.

After 15' a corner resulting from a Winters deflected shot led to pressure on the Aces goal line. The Timbers had further shots from Vadim, Winters again and Costigan either wide or high in the next 10 minutes.

Nevada had a brief couple of attacks after 30' with Sancho tackling Mora in the box after a break-away and a Chavarin shooting wide after a 3-on-3 attack.

The Timbers continued to be frustrated with blocked shots from Sawatsky from a Costigan cross and Vadim, whose shot was blocked off the line.

In the 36th minute Michael O'Neill broke the deadlock, first forcing a save out of Buchanan and then in the next minute picking up a loose ball at the edge of the box and beating Buchanan off the underside of the bar. (0 - 1)

The Timbers had more chances soon after with a shot by Vadim blocked after Buchanan was committed and a Ryan header straight at the keeper after another Costigan cross.

Then after 44' Mark Baena got the goal the Timbers really needed, beating Buchanan from 20yds after a pass from O'Neill and the Timbers went into the break 2 up. (0 - 2)

The Timbers came out in the second half continuing to attack. Sawatsky having a shot saved, Baena a shot deflected over and then on 50' a goal from Vadim from 25yds out on the right touchline, which sailed over Buchanan. (0 - 3)

A minute later O'Neill made it 4 with his third goal in 2 games after an assist from Sawatsky after his own shot was blocked (0 - 4)

Darren was obviously desperate to add his own name to the score sheet and in the next 5 minutes had a chip wide, an offside and a header at the near post after a Ryan cross.

Nevada tried to push forward and on 67' a turn and shot by Chavarin was pushed away by Napoleon for the corner. Neil Ryan hit the post after 69' and Loera had a chance soon after when he beat Winters but scuffed his shot which rolled harmlessly to Napoleon.

Nevada got their consolation on 71' when Chavarin scored a great goal, hooking the ball over his head while being pressurized by Sancho. (1 - 4)

The Timbers kept up the pressure though with Baena heading straight at the keeper after a Sawatsky cross. Bobby made 2 substitutions, Ochoa for Winters (74') and McPeak for Baena (82') and the last real action of the game came after another good cross by Keith Costigan was headed just over by O'Neill looking for a hat-trick. (1 - 4).

So a good performance by the Timbers, keeping the pressure on, no lapses in concentration, even scoring their own end-of-the-half goal. Michael O'Neill was probably the stand out player with Costigan and Ryan both getting some good crosses in this game.


Buchanan, Mara, Bell, Maehara, Black, Moran, Saldana, J-L Cacho (M. Cacho 59') , Sanneh, Chavarin, Loera
Subs:Willerford (sp.?), Sewell (sp.?)
Napoleon, Sancho, Wilkinson, Tolstolutsky, Chulis, Ryan, Costigan, O'Neill, Winters (Ochoa 74'), Sawatsky, Baena (McPeak 82')