AFC Ajax defeats Timbers 2-0
Lorenzo Ebecilio scored early and Dutch champion AFC Ajax went on to a 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers in an international exhibition on Wednesday night.
''Any time you go out and play those types of players, it's fun,'' Portland midfielder Ryan Pore said. ''They're definitely as good as they're advertised.''
Earlier this month, Ajax won its 30th Dutch league title - its first since 2004 - and secured a spot in next season's Champions League.
Ebecilio scored on a cross from Gregory van der Wiel in the 18th minute. Demy De Zeeuw added the other goal in the 89th.
It was a rare home loss for the Timbers, who are in the midst of their inaugural Major League Soccer season. Portland has lost just twice at home, both non-league matches, while winning all five of its home MLS games.
Ajax coach Frank de Boer praised the crowd, which was announced at 18,627.
''Great audience, great atmosphere, I can see how a lot of teams have problems when they have to play here,'' he said. ''The enthusiastic crowd can always be a very difficult thing for the opponent.''
Maarten Stekelenburg, goalkeeper for the Netherlands in last year's World Cup final, was with Ajax but did not play. The team started Jeroen Verhoeven in goal.
The Timbers also rested goalkeeper Troy Perkins, giving Adin Brown the start.
Brown was caught off-guard with Ebecelio's left-footed goal into the upper right corner, and at times the Timbers seemed out of sorts against their Dutch counterparts.
Timbers coach John Spencer suspected his team was a little bit starstruck against Ajax, four-time winners of the European Champions Cup.
Even Spencer was a bit awed.
''I thought their movement off the ball was exhilarating,'' Spencer said. ''I was watching from the dugout and almost clapping at times.''
Brown got lucky in the 56th minute when Daley Blind's hard kick sailed over his outstretched arms but hit the crossbar and popped up and out.
Portland had a chance in the 58th minute off a corner kick, but Eddie Johnson's attempt from a few yards out also caught the crossbar.
''It's always great to test yourself against quality opponents like that,'' Portland midfielder Peter Lowry said.
Ajax defeated D.C. United 2-1 in a friendly on Sunday.
''Against DC United we didn't play our best, I think this game was very good for our team,'' de Boer said. ''We played total football, with a lot of one touches, always looking for our midfielders and a lot of times we reached them.''
De Boer, who as a player won five league titles with the club and another with Barcelona in 1999, has only been coaching Ajax since December last year when he took over from Martin Jol.
The team's travel roster included Stekelenburg, defender van der Wiel, who also played for the Netherlands in the World Cup, and midfielder Siem De Jong, who had 12 goals this past season.
Portland did not play captain Jack Jewsbury, who has two goals and five assists in league play this season, and the team substituted liberally in the second half.
The Timbers' other loss at Jeld-Wen Field came in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match against the San Jose Earthquakes.