Perkins makes Impact felt in return to Portland

Ex-Timber goalkeeper helps Montreal to 2-1 win

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



PORTLAND — Give the Montreal Impact three more style points.

Montreal’s defense frustrated the Portland Timbers for long stretches on Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field, goalkeeper Troy Perkins made sure the Timbers and their fans won’t soon forget him. and the Impact earned a 2-1 win.

Hassoun Camara scored on a first-half volley and Filipe Martins on a second-half counter as Montreal won its second road game in a row in the Pacific Northwest.

Ryan Johnson scored for Portland with 10 minutes left, and the Timbers created several chances to draw even, but Perkins and the Impact defense was up to the challenge.

As expected, Montreal packed the defensive end the field, preventing the Timbers from having enough time or space to be creative.

Portland’s attempts to break down the defense with combination passing near the penalty area were consistently interrupted. The result was growing frustration from Portland in the form of difficult shots from distance and off-target crosses.

The exception came in the 80th minute, when Johnson raced to the far post to finish a right-to-left cross from halftime substitute Ben Zemanski.

That led to a frantic final 15 minutes. Among Portland’s better chances to tie was a one-on-one chance in the closing seconds for Jose Valencia that went right at Perkins.

As the match moved into stoppage time, Johnson had a near breakaway cut off at the last moment. Diego Valeri had a shot go wide and Will Johnson couldn’t make clean contact from a twisting attempt.

The match ended with the Timbers Army chanting Perkins’ name in appreciation for his time in Portland. Perkins, who was traded in the August goalkeeper swap that brought Donovan Ricketts to Portland, returned the salute by clapping back at the Timbers fans.

For Montreal, the game went according to script. As was the case in the 1-0 win at Seattle last week, an early goal allowed the Impact defense to drop deep and make the Timbers beat multiple layers of defenders to gain looks at goal.

Montreal had the better of the scoring chances in the first half and broke through in the 31st minute. The play started with a free kick from about 40 yards out on the right wing — the result of a foul by Darlington Nagbe that earned the Portland midfielder a yellow card.

The ball bounced around the top of the 18-yard box and Camara delivered an over-the-head kick that Ricketts could not reach.

“No excuse. You mark your guy,” Portland coach Caleb Porter said.

The second goal was textbook Impact, coming on a quick counter attack in the 60th minute. Martins converted an easy finish after Andres Romero cut a pass into the penalty area from the end line.

Portland, which did not take a penalty kick all of last season, appeared to deserve one on the 40th minute when Montreal’s Sanna Nyassi shoved down Ryan Miller as the Timbers’ right back broke free with the ball inside the penalty area. But no foul was awarded.

On a night when the Impact frustrated the Timbers around the penalty area, it was a call the Timbers could have used.

The Timbers’ other best chances in the first half were a tough-angle shot from Ryan Johnson at the end of a sequence of one-touch passes, and a blast from 20 yards by Nagbe. Perkins was up to the task, blocking Johnson’s shot and first punching then catching Nagbe’s drive.

In the end, it was a nice return to Portland for Perkins — and a frustrating result for the Timbers.

NOTE — The Timbers next home match is April 6 against Houston. The Timbers play at Seattle next Saturday and at Colorado on March 30.