By THOMAS FLOYD
Is it too early to peg Darlington Nagbe as the MLS rookie of the year favorite?
The Portland Timbers midfielder-forward showed a glimpse of the lofty potential that made him the No. 2 pick in January's SuperDraft, scoring the equalizer during his side's first exhibition as an MLS club, a 1-1 draw Friday with the Ventura County Fusion in Ventura, Calif.
The Akron product finished a near-post run in 46th minute by nodding home trialist Jorge Perlaza's chip from the touchline. Ventura County of the PDL went ahead in the 17th minute when midfielder Edur Vaca scored on a counter attack.
Nagbe entered in the 20th minute after striker Bright Dike was carted off the field with an apparent leg injury. Timbers coach John Spencer told The Oregonian it looked like a "bad calf strain" for Dike, who scored 10 goals for Portland in the second division last year.
Here is a roundup of other MLS squads in exhibition action Friday and Saturday:
SEATTLE DROPS VANCOUVER
A Brad Evans goal was all the Seattle Sounders needed to defeat the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps, 1-0, on Friday in an early glimpse at the new Pacific Northwest rivalry in MLS.
The clubs played three 35-minute periods in Casa Grande, Ariz. Evans, who missed most of the 2010 campaign with a knee injury, scored the lone tally off a David Estrada assist in the 63rd minute.
HOUSTON DEFEATS HBU
Trialists Lester Peltier and François Swaby found net as the Houston Dynamo downed Houston Baptist, 2-0, on the HBU campus Saturday.
Peltier opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a long-range strike that snuck inside the far post. Houston doubled its advantage shortly after halftime when Swaby collected Steven Morrissey's cross in the penalty area and launched a half-volley into the back of the net.
GALAXY BLOWS OUT LMU
Juan Pablo Angel didn't take long to open his scoring account in Los Angeles, notching a goal during the first half of the Galaxy's 7-1 win over Loyola Marymount at the Home Depot Center on Friday.
Chris Birchall bagged a brace for the Galaxy, while Gregg Berhalter, Juninho, Paolo Cardozo and Jovan Kirovski also got their names on the scoresheet.
The Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC will be in action Sunday. The Union will play the U.S. U-17 national team in Orlando, and Toronto will take on Serbian giant Red Star Belgrade.