BY MIKE DONOVAN
PORTLAND, Ore.- For the three MLS teams competing in Portland this week, the second night of the Rose City Invitational was a night to look at players trying to either break into their team’s starting lineup or to solidify their spot on the roster.
In matches filled with reserve players, the Vancouver Whitecaps came out on top of the San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0, while the host Portland Timbers drew with Jamaican side Portmore United, 1-1.
Vancouver followed its Sunday smashing of Portmore United with a 2-0 victory over the Earthquakes. Kenny Miller scored midway through the first half, while Darren Mattocks added a penalty kick late for an insurance goal.
Despite being out-shot by San Jose (12 to 8), the Whitecaps made the most of their opportunities with putting more than half their shots on target (five). Miller’s goal came as a result of some nice moves by Sam Adekugbe on the right flank to move past Quakes defender Shaun Francis. Adekugbe then found the foot of Miller, who made no mistake in beating Jon Busch.
San Jose looked to be the better team for the majority of the first half and almost tied the match up when Adam Jahn forced Paolo Tomaghi to make a sprawling save. The second half was a different story as the Whitecaps controlled possession and forced second-half substitute David Bingham to make four saves. Bingham was helpless on the Mattocks penalty kick, which was set up by Bryce Alderson getting brought down in the box.
In the nightcap, the Timbers were unable to get past Portmore United despite dominating most statistical categories such as corner kicks (12 to 1) and shots (22 to 9). Michael Nanchoff’s 75th-minute goal was matched seven minutes later by a penalty kick goal by Portmore’s Francois Swaby.
Even with a major possession advantage, Portland, who were without any regular starters, had few quality looks on goal on the night. Nanchoff looked to have the winner 15 minutes from the end when his powerful left-footed blast found the back of the net. The goal would not hold up as Jorge Villafana was called for a foul in the box setting up Swaby’s game-tying goal from the spot.
Prior to Nanchoff’s goal, the best chance for Portland was when Alvas Powell found himself just a few yards from an open net. Unfortunately for the former Portmore United player, his attempt flew over the crossbar.
Despite a chilly night in the Rose City, more than 10,000 fans were on hand for the match.
Vancouver, who clinched the top spot at the Rose City Invitational with its win and Portland’s draw, will take on the host Timbers Saturday night at Providence Park. In the first match Saturday, Portmore United will take on the Earthquakes.