Boyd heads Timbers toward season on high note

The Scottish striker scores in just seven minutes in final preseason game
March 4, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

At the press conference to introduce Kris Boyd to Portland, Boyd said he had come to Portland to score goals. And seven minutes into is first game at Jeld-Wen Field, he delivered on his promise.

Boyd’s early goal held up as the Portland Timbers defeated AIK of Sweden, 1-0, in the Timbers preseason finale Sunday. The win gave the Timbers five points for the three-match tournament and tie them with the San Jose Earthquakes, who defeated Chivas USA, 5-0 earlier in the day.

“They brought me here to score goals, and I’m happy I was able to get one in today,” Boyd said. “Hopefully, I’ll get a lot more.”

After two draws in the tournament, the Timbers came out determined to get a win in front of the home fans. Boyd’s dream start was the result of a nice ball by Rodney Wallace to switch fields and a great cross by Jorge Perlaza from the right side.

Boyd headed in the Colombian’s cross and sent Jeld-Wen into a frenzy.

Portland Coach John Spencer went with a regular season approach for the game, starting his best 11 available and only listing seven substitutes despite being allowed four more. And, the coach was rewarded as his offense constantly pressured AIK’s backline and goalkeeper Ivan Turina.

Outside midfielders Kalif Alhassan and Wallace both had nice games and continuously provided passes to cutters. Alhassan wrapped up an assertive week as he battles for a starting position.

Wallace, who played for his native Costa Rica on Wednesday in Wales, was constantly attacking the backline of the visitors from Stockholm, and showed he might merit some playing time on the wing.

In addition to getting the assist on the goal, Perlaza used his quickness throughout the match to create openings for himself and his teammates.

Other starters who showed well were Brunner, who looked confident and comfortable as usual as the Timbers defensive anchor, and Perkins, who went through the preseason with conceding just two goals, one of which was an own goal.

My men of the match were Wallace, Perlaza, and Boyd for the reasons listed above. With his match today, Perlaza certainly seems like the favorite to be Boyd’s strike partner on March 12.

The Timbers will kick off the MLS regular season on March 12 at Jeld-Wen Field against the Philadelphia Union. Check out oregonsports.com and twitter.com/themikedonovan for full coverage on the week leading up to the match.

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