Sal Zizzo chases down a ball during Portland's 1-0 defeat of Montreal on Wednesday.

Timbers tally first win as MLS franchise

Eddie Johnson’s header in the seventh minute held up against the Montreal Impact and the Portland Timbers won their first preseason match as an MLS franchise on Wednesday in Casa Grande, Ariz., 1-0.

Some of the team’s top players, such as Kenny Cooper, Jeremy Hall and Darlington Nagbe, did not play Wednesday. Yet for the team overall, it was a step in the right direction, coach John Spencer said.

“The first 45 minutes were far better,” Spencer told by phone. “We were unfortunate not to score two or three more times in the half. We're creating chances.”

The Timbers, 1-0-3 in four exhibition games so far, have a game scheduled with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday before returning from Arizona. Spencer said the Timbers sustained their energy early in the second half but then it began to wane.

WATCH: John Spencer discusses victory

After three straight ties, the victory over the Impact was welcome.

“It was nice,” Spencer said. “It won’t be easy, but I’d like to go through the preseason undefeated and have as many clean sheets as we can. We’re undefeated after four games.”

With Adin Brown in goal, the defense earned its second shutout in four tries. The conditioning of the team is improving by the day and will remain a focus over the next three weeks.

“The guys are getting more fit and we will continue working up until the last few days of preseason,” Spencer said.

A match between Portland and Houston was canceled when high winds whipped up a sandstorm and conditions became unplayable.

The Montreal Impact play in the North American Soccer League and are on deck to join MLS in 2012.

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