By MIKE DONOVAN
PORTLAND, Ore.- The first night of the Rose City Invitational saw two very different matches Sunday night, as the San Jose Earthquakes knocked off the host Portland Timbers in an extremely physical game typical of the regular season matches between the two Western Conference clubs.
Prior to that, the Vancouver Whitecaps asserted their dominance over Portmore United of Jamaica’s Red Stripe Premier League with a 5-1 victory.
While Portland controlled possession and put together numerous passing sequences, they were unable to find the net against Jon Busch and the Earthquakes. Timbers newcomer Norberto Paparatto scored an own goal midway through the first half and the goal stood up for San Jose as the California club notched the victory, 1-0.
The goal occurred when Paparatto clattered into goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts while simultaneously heading the ball into his own net. Despite finishing the match with zero shots on goal, San Jose was able to pull out the victory.
The physical match featured seven yellow cards and numerous stoppages of play due to players going down on the pitch. Fortunately for both clubs, no players had to be substituted due to injuries.
Portland was without captain Will Johnson who was battling flu-like symptons, while Diego Valeri made his preseason debut, coming on as a second-half sub.
In the first match of the night, Vancouver scored four second half goals as they blew by Portmore United, by the score of 5-1. Jordan Harvey led the Caps with two goals, while Darren Mattocks, Russell Teibert, and Nicolas Mezquida each added strikes of their own.
Portmore, meanwhile, was reduced to ten men when starting goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett was sent off just 14 minutes into the match for handling the ball outside the 18-yard box.
Despite the sending off, the Jamaicans struck first when Ricardo Morris put a shot past starting Caps goalkeeper Marco Carducci. It was the shot on target against Carducci, who is the Caps U-18 academy goalkeeper.
The goal would be the lone positive for Portmore as Vancouver proceeded to score five unanswered tallies to finish the match. While Harvey notched a brace, it was the interplay of Mattocks, Mezquida, and Sebastian Fernandez that controlled the pace and play versus the outmatched opponents.
Late in the match, Kenny Miller made his preseason debut after being sidelined earlier in training camp with a quadriceps injury. The Whitecaps return to the field Wednesday to take on the San Jose Earthquakes while Portmore United will play the host Timbers.