Brunner's goal, Boyd cross lift Portland past Chicago 2-1
May 20, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
The 2012 season changed dramatically for the Portland Timbers with just one goal Sunday.
Defender Eric Brunner popunded home a loose ball from 5 yards out in the first half and Portland scored again in the second half for a 2-1 victory over Chicago in MLS action at Jeld-Wen Field.
Brunner's goal ended a streak of nine halves without a score for the team, which has sat in the bottom of the Western Conference standings for weeks. But, Brunner's goal, coupled with an own goal scored by Fire midfielder Logan Pause off a searing Kris Boyd header in the second half, moved the Timbers past the Los Angeles Galaxy and within reach of the middle of the pack in the West.
"This was a huge win for us, especially with some of the results from around the league this weekend," Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. "With this win, and some good results in the next couple games, we're right back in the thick of things."
Portland improved to 3-5-3, 12 points, heading into a home game with Vancouver Saturday. Vancouver, which moved up to MLS last year along with the Timbers, is 5-3-3, 18 points after a 2-2 tie with Seattle Saturday.
The Timbers play a friendly with Spanish club Valencia C.F. Wednesday.
Chicago dropped to 4-3-3, 15 points.
Brunner found the net in the 20th minute, which set off an explosive celebration at Jeld-Wen from the Timbers Army. The goal was the team's first since the first half of a 3-1 loss at Los Angeles, April 14, and the first at home since April 7.
Die-hard fans had resorted to everything from eating odd meals to prayer circles in order to inspire the team to break its scoreless streak.
Brunner's goal came off a corner kick and had assists from Boyd and Hanyer Mosquera. The goal was the first for the team at the South End of Jeld-Wen this season, and gave the team only its fifth different scorer.
Chicago answered in the 39th minute when Jalil Anibaba took a short pass from Marco Pappa and scored from 10 yards out past Perkins, who hadn't given up a goal since Los Angeles.
Portland got the game winner in the 52nd minute also off a corner, when Sal Zisso powered the ball directly at Boyd, who flicked the ball off the right side of his head into the center of the goal mouth, where Pause was located. Boyd, who hasn't scored since Los Angeles, celebrated the goal, although it went into the books as an own goal - the second scored by a Timbers opponent this season. Both own goals were created by Boyd - Sporting Kansas City having scored off a Boyd cross in their April 21 game at Jeld-Wen.
The second goal broke a streak of 16-straight games in which the Timbers hadn't scored in both halves.