PORTLAND, Ore. – Any way you slice it, the fans went home happy Tuesday night at JELD-WEN Field as Aston Villa defeated the Portland Timbers in penalty kicks to decide a a 2-2 draw after regulation.
The first four players to line up penalty kicks converted for each team. But on the Timbers fifth kick, Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan guessed right and saved Bright Dike’s shot to the right post. And Villa’s Samir Carruthers took advantage when his right-footed blast to the top, right corner beat Timbers goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
For the Timbers, Sebastian Rincon, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Franck Songo’o and Charles Renken converted on their attempts. Villa’s Barry Bannan, Eric Lichaj, Karim El Ahmadi and Charles N’Zogbia scored on their attempts.
But first, the two clubs, playing in front of a crowd of 20,438 that included a famous Villa supporter – actor Tom Hanks – combined for three goals in an action-packed final 15 minutes.
Timbers supporters were treated to Colombian rookie Sebastián Rincón’s first goal in a Portland uniform and an 81st-minute goal by Costa Rican national Rodney Wallace to tie the game at 2-2.
And a small contingent of Villa fans, thanks to the historic EPL side’s ties to the early days of the NASL Timbers, happily watched as Ireland international Ciaran Clark and defender Matthew Lowton notched goals in the first and second half, respectively.
Villa nearly broke the ice in the 41st minute when midfielder Bannan teed up a long, left-footed shot that required a fingertip save by Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
But the Timbers paid the price on the ensuing corner kick. Clark snuck to the far post unmarked to head in Bannan’s offering. Ironically, Aston Villa was the only EPL side not to score off a corner kick this past season.
Portland leveled the match in the 76th minute when Rincón slotted home a Franck Songo’o corner kick.
Villa was quick to match it, however, as Lowton scored on another corner kick in the 80th minute.
Then the Timbers sent the crowd into a frenzy just a minute later when Wallace teed up a beautifully struck shot that deflected past Guzan.
The Timbers return to MLS play with a Saturday home match against Western Conference foes Chivas USA, which beat the Timbers 1-0 last Wednesday at the Home Depot Center.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.