Portland’s Kris Boyd (9) gets a header past Sweden’s AIK defender Per Karlsson and then the goaltender for the game’s only goal at Jeld-Wen Field on Sunday.
The Timbers’ Eric Brunner can’t beat Sweden AIK’s goalkeeper Ivan Turina to the ball in the second half of Portland’s 1-0 victory in exhibition play. The Timbers concluded their preseason schedule with a 4-0-3 record leading up to the March 12 season opener.
PORTLAND — The final dress rehearsal included the introduction of a new star.
At least that’s the Portland Timbers’ hope for new forward Kris Boyd.
Making his first appearance for the Timbers, Boyd scored the only goal Sunday as Portland closed out its preseason schedule with a 1-0 win over AIK from Sweden in front of 17,357 fans at Jeld-Wen Field.
Boyd’s goal came in the seventh minute of the match and was a good example of why the Timbers chose to make the Scottish striker a designated player. Boyd scored with a header off a Jorge Perlaza cross.
“I just saw the ball coming in and got across the front of the defender and managed to get a head on it, and lucky enough it went in the net,” Boyd said.
Timbers coach John Spencer said the goal was just the kind of finish the team hired Boyd to deliver.
“I think people can see what he is capable of doing in and around the 6 (yard box),” Spencer said. “He’s not going to be that guy who’s going to drop a shoulder, dribble by four people and put the ball in the back of the net. He’s going to be that force in the box, if you get the ball in there he’s going to get onto it nine times out of 10.”
Boyd’s delivery on Sunday allowed the Timbers to complete their preseason schedule without a loss, finishing with four wins and three ties. They open the regular season March 12 at home against Philadelphia.
“To go undefeated is definitely something that we’re proud of,” captain Jack Jewsbury said.
Spencer said Sunday’s game was a good, physical challenge to close the preseason. But the coach said the execution needs to improve as the regular season arrives.
“Hopefully, we will be able to be a little bit better with our quality come next week to try to create a little bit more (offense),” Spencer said.
Boyd and Spencer both said the forward is still a ways from being in top condition. He played 75 minutes.
The play that produced Boyd’s goal started with a bit of heads-up hustle from Rodney Wallace. Wallace pulled away from a foul in midfield, and slipped a forward pass that gave Perlaza space to work with on the right wing.
From there, Perlaza sent a low cross that Boyd met squarely for a header past AIK goalkeeper Ivan Turina.
Playing at left midfield, Wallace was an energetic player Sunday even though he had made a trans-Atlantic trip to play on Wednesday for the Costa Rica national team in a friendly match at Cardiff, Wales.
“I really didn’t have that much rest, but it felt good to be out there for sure,” Wallace said. “You’ve got to be ready every time you step on the field.”
Ready or not and Spencer was lamenting how injuries limited his roster at the end of preseason the games start meaning a lot more next Monday.
“We’re not in our best form yet,” Spencer said. “But we’re not far from it.”
San Jose beat Chivas USA 5-0 in the first game of Sunday’s double-header at Jeld-Wen Field. The Earthquakes and the Timbers each had one win and two ties in the three-game tournament. … Portland outscored its opponents 11-3 over the seven preseason games. … Kalif Alhassan, Perlaza, Bright Dike, Jewsbury and Diego Chara were the only Timbers to play in all seven preseason contests.