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The Timbers Fell the Flash 4-3 in San Diego

The new San Diego Flash met the new Portland Timbers with two old Flash players, and the Timbers held off the Flash 4-3. Former Flash forward Mark Baena scored three and assisted on the fourth to carry the game for the Timbers. The Flash tried to rally in the second half and Chugger Adair scored two late in the game, but the Timbers prevailed. The Flash also made it tough on themselves by going a man down in the 45th minute.

Flash fans were happy to see their former fan-favorite player Kevin "Leggy" Legg in attendance, but this time he was wearing Portland green hair, instead of the platinum blonde of the past, or any of the other colors he used to entertain San Diego fans. But Leggy was only a second half sub for Portland, and wasn't much of a factor in the game. The former Flash player who did affect the game was Mark Baena, who led the Flash in goals last season even while injured for much of 2000.

In this game, Mark Baena capitalized early on some bad Flash passes and was able to steal the ball in the 3rd minute and race into the penalty area, and passed off to Darren Sawatzky who put it away for the first goal. Just 10 minutes later, an errant clearance by Flash defender Adam Maurer put the ball into Greg Howes' possession, who took it upfield and found Mark Baena who put it away for a 2-0 Timbers lead just 13 minutes into the game.

From then on for the first half the Flash applied the pressure. The Flash were able to put together lots of passes and create lots of chances on goal, but none of them went in. Portland's defenders were able to make some great saves in the penalty area. By the end of the first half the Flash had won 11 corner kicks to just one for the Timbers, indicating the amount of time the ball was in the Portland end. In the 33rd minute Timbers goalkeeper Matt Napoleon suffered a hand injury and had to come out. He was replaced by newly signed goalkeeper Daniel Moss, who made his debut for the Timbers. Moss and the rest of the Portland defense were able to sustain the Flash attack for the rest of the half, until referee Emiliano Monje called a hand ball in the area and awarded the Flash a penalty kick. Simon Livett converted to make it 2-1.

However, shortly after the PK was taken, there was some kind of scuffle in the area as the players were heading back to the center circle, and Flash forward Emmanuel Ayim was seen throwing an elbow to the jaw of Portland's Gavin Wilkinson. The referee's assistant informed the center ref, and E-man was given a red card. But after the situation calmed down some, the ref also gave a yellow card to Wilkinson. After the game, reports were that Wilkinson stuck a cleat in the back of Ayim's leg, and E-man retaliated. As all sports fans know, it's the second guy that gets the worse punishment for retaliating.

The second half opened with the Flash struggling to organize themselves with just 10 men. And just five minutes into the half Mark Baena once again scored to make it 3-1 Portland. San Diego's hopes were raised a few minutes later when another hand ball was called in the penalty area. But this time, Simon Livett struck the penalty kick to the right and hit the post. Four minutes later, Mark Baena scored the fourth goal for Portland, and things looked grim for the home team.

The next several minutes saw wave after wave of Portland attacks, many of which were called offside by the assistant referee. San Diego brought on more attacking players as substitutes, and in the 75th minute Chugger Adair was finally able to put one away, making it 4-2. As Portland dropped back to conserve the lead, the Flash attacks looked more promising, and then in the 90th minute Chugger scored again to make it 4-3. But time ran out and Portland celebrated their road win and their five points in the standings.

The Flash travel to the Pacific Northwest next weekend to face Seattle and then the Timbers once again. Considering the hole the Flash put themselves in by their errors in this game, the Flash can look positively to this road trip if they can concentrate on preventing those types of errors. The Flash then return home to face Milwaukee on Thursday June 7, a change from the original schedule, and then they will play the US Open Cup qualifying game they missed earlier this year against Stanislaus United (D3) on Sunday June 10.

San Diego- Matt Hall, P.J. Brown (Javier Bustos '72), Adam Maurer, Brian O'Connor (Hugo Alcarez '57), Jerome Watson, Nate Hetherington, Simon Livett, Carlos Calderson (Thiago Martins '85), Miguel Suazo (Miguel Luna '39), Emmanuel Ayim (Red Card '45), Chugger Adair.

Portland- Matt Napoleon (Daniel Moss '33), Jeff Clarke, Gavin Wilkinson, Matt Chulis, Brian Winters, Michael O'Neill, Scott Benedetti, Greg Howes (Kevin Legg '69), Brent Sancho, Darren Sawatzky, Mark Baena.

Portland-  '3 Darren Sawatzky (A. Mark Baena)
Portland-  '13 Mark Baena (Greg Howes)
San Diego- '45 Simon Livett (PK)
Portland-  '50 Mark Baena (Greg Howes)
Portland-  '66 Mark Baena (Unassisted)
San Diego- '75 Chugger Adair (Miguel Luna)
San Diego- '87 Chugger Adair (Simon Livett)

Portland-  '29 Scott Benedetti (Yellow)
Portland-  '45 Brian Winters (Yellow)
San Diego- '45 Emmanuel Ayim (Red)
Portland-  '45 Gavin Wilkinson (Yellow)
Portland-  '52 Greg Howes (Yellow)
San Diego- '79 Chugger Adair (Yellow)

-Eric Bekins-

San Diego Flash F.C. 3-2-0, 15 pts. Last game, vs. Portland Timbers, L 3-4. Next game, Fri Jun 1 at Seattle Sounders.

Many Thanks to News Digger John Zukas who scours up all of the local news links during the year.