Timbers stay perfect at home
Eric Brunner scored on a header to open the second half and the Portland Timbers beat the Columbus Crew 1-0 on Saturday night to remain perfect at home in their inaugural season.
Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer leaped to stop Brunner's header off a cross from Kalif Alhassan in the 46th minute but the ball bounded into the net.
''We talked about it at halftime, maybe getting a quick one and catching them off guard,'' Brunner said afterward.
Brunner, an Ohio native, spent the previous two seasons with the Crew before he was selected by the Timbers in the second round of the 2010 Major League Soccer expansion draft.
The expansion Timbers (5-3-2) are the only team in MLS to win all of its home games. Portland, Seattle and FC Dallas all have 17 points to sit behind the Los Angeles Galaxy in the league's Western Conference.
The announced crowd at Jeld-Wen Field was 18,627, a sellout.
The Crew (3-3-4), who have yet to win on the road this season, pressured Portland throughout the physical match.
''I don't thing we deserved to lose,'' Crew coach Robert Warzycha said.
The Timbers were coming off a 1-all draw with the rival Sounders in Seattle last Saturday. Portland pulled even with the Sounders when Jack Jewsbury's free kick caromed off the head of Futty Danso and into the net.
The Crew were coming off a 3-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday. While Columbus was undefeated in its previous seven games, the team hasn't been able to win outright on the road.
The Crew have three losses and a trio of draws on the road this season. They've been outscored 8-2 away from home.
Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins had a key save when he deflected Tommy Heinemann's header in the 41st minute. Heinemann was replaced by Jeff Cunningham in the 75th minute.
Perkins made three saves in the match for the clean sheet.
''It's good to get those three points and the shutout,'' Brunner said.
Crew forward Emilio Renteria was injured early in the match and was replaced by Andres Mendoza. The nature and extent of his injury was not announced.
Alhassan leads the Timbers with five assists, and defenders have scored five of the team's goals this season. Saturday night's goal came off a set piece after a free kick some 30 seconds after play resumed in the second half.
The Timbers Army, Portland's independent supporters' group, unfurled a banner reading ''Raptured,'' for the match, noting the doomsday prophecy for Saturday night.
No other expansion team has won its first five home matches in MLS history. And no team overall has won as many home games to open a season since the Los Angeles Galaxy won their first seven in 1996.
According to information provided to the Timbers by the Elias Sports Bureau, no other expansion team has won as many consecutive home games since the Chicago Fire won seven straight and the Miami Fusion won six straight in 1998.