Portland continues to be a tough place to play for the rest of Major League Soccer.Portland once again proved to be a tough place to play on Saturday night as the Timbers kept their perfect home record in tact with a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew.
The win improves Portland's home record to 5-0-0 and puts the Timbers near the top of the table in the west while keeping the Crew's road problems in tact as well.
The first half was fairly uneventful despite both sides pushing forward regularly and searching for the opening goal.
Portland missed its best chance at a goal in the 15th minute Jorge Perlaza sent a cross to the front of the box only to see Jack Jewsbury struggle to bring it in and have a go. Perlaza was then brought down Chad Marshall just wide of the goal, earning Portland a set-piece opportunity, but the free kick sailed high and out of bounds.
Columbus had a chance to take the lead in the 42nd when Tommy Heinemann's header forced a nice save out of Troy Perkins, but the score would remain level heading into the break.
Portland wasted no time in taking the lead after the break. Jack Jewsbury played a nice free kick to midfielder Kalif Alhassan inside the box. The Ghanaian then sent a lofted pass across the to Brunner, who sent the ball to the back of the net to give the home team the only lead it would need.
Portland continued to pressure, piling up corners and free kicks in the second half, but the home side was nearly made to pay for not extending its lead when the Crew went close in the 87th. Robbie Rogers' blast hit skimmed the post on the post on the way by, letting Portland off the hook and preserving the win for the Timbers.
Portland's next match will be against Dutch champions Ajax on May 25, in what is sure to be a festive afair at JELD-WEN Field, while Columbus will happily return home for a May 28 showdown with Chivas USA.
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