PORTLAND, Ore. — Sal Zizzo and Brian Umony scored first-half goals as the Portland Timbers beat Club Atlético Independiente 2-0 in a friendly on Tuesday at JELD-WEN Field.
Despite playing reserves at all but one position, the Timbers outplayed the Argentine club, who are the defending Copa Sudamericana champions. Portland dominated possession and enjoyed an 8-4 shot advantage in the first half.
It was Timbers' only victory in their four exhibition matches.
Timbers reserves have been excellent early in the team’s last two friendly matches. Against West Bromwich Albion on July 20, Portland outplayed the EPL side in the first half and led 2-0 on goals by Eddie Johnson and Peter Lowry before losing 3-2.
Portland once again was the best team early in the match Tuesday.
After making a number of runs on goal from the match’s outset thanks to strong efforts by forwards Kenny Cooper and Johnson, along with Zizzo and Umony from midfield, Portland got on the board first in the 36th minute.
Johnson connected with Zizzo perfectly in stride down the left wing. Zizzo sped past the defense and buried a right-footed shot in the back of the net.
Four minutes later, a free kick from 40 yards out by defender Mike Chabala, playing his first minutes in a Timbers jersey after being acquired in a trade last week from Houston, led to the next goal. The precision pass met expertly with a leaping Umony, who headed in the goal past a diving goalkeeper Hilario Navarro.
Independiente’s best chance at getting on the board in the first half came when forward Leonel Núñez unleashed a rocket that was deflected high. On the ensuing corner kick, forward Facundo Parra attempted a bicycle kick shot, but the South American star mistimed his leap and the shot rolled harmlessly wide.
Things picked up for Independiente in the second half, as both teams made a liberal amount of substitutions. Independiente fired off nine shots in the half to Portland’s four.
The Argentine squad nearly cut Portland’s lead in half in the 69th minute when Iván Vélez was found open on the left wing. His shot, however, sailed high.
Independiente threatened again just a minute later, resulting in a left-footed shot by midfielder Hernán Fredes. The blast required a diving save by Portland goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, who came on in the second half.
There were some especially tense moments for Portland late as midfielder Osmar Ferreyra was awarded a free kick in the 84th minute just beyond the penalty area, but the Portland defensive wall blocked his shot attempt.
Portland will now look toward a home match Saturday against Toronto before hosting the LA Galaxy on Aug. 3.
Independiente played their third and final exhibition. They will travel to Japan to play in the final of the Suruga Bank Championship, a match between the winners of the Copa Sudamericana and the Japanese J-League Cup.
POR -- Sal Zizzo (Eddie Johnson) 36
POR -- Brian Umony (Mike Chabala) 39
CAI -- Ivan Perez (caution; Reckless Tackle) 31
CAI -- Julian Velazquez (caution; Handball) 41
CAI -- Cristian Pellerano (caution; Reckless Tackle) 59
POR -- Steve Purdy (caution; Dissent) 84
POR -- Rodrigo Lopez (caution; Reckless Tackle) 86
POR -- Bright Dike (caution; Reckless Tackle) 92+
Independiente -- Hilario Navarro, Maximiliano Velazquez (Adrian Argacha 64), Cristhian Baez, Eduardo Tuzzio (Ivan Velez 46), Julian Velazquez, Ivan Perez (Roberto Battion 46), Nicolas Cabrera (Osmar Ferreyra 46), Hernan Fredes, Cristian Pellerano (Nicolas Delmonte 64), Facundo Parra, Leonel Nunez (Matias Defederico 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Fabian Assmann.
Portland Timbers -- Adin Brown (Jake Gleeson 46), Jeremy Hall, Steve Purdy, David Horst, Mike Chabala, Sal Zizzo (Rodrigo Lopez 57), Peter Lowry, Freddie Braun, Brian Umony, Kenny Cooper, Eddie Johnson (Bright Dike 65).
Substitutes Not Used: James Marcelin, Darlington Nagbe, Jorge Perlaza, Chris Taylor.
Referee: Yader Reyes
Referee's Assistants: Mike Rottersman; Ronald LaGraff
4th Official: Jeremy Hanson
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Sunny and 71 degrees