Timbers Beat Morelia 1-0 on Futty Danso Penalty

USA TODAY Sports

The Timbers beat Monarcas Morelia 1-0 in a not-so-friendly friendly today to win the Copa Verde.

The Portland Timbers played Monarcas Morelia for control of the Copa Verde and came out with the newly invented competition's trophy thanks to controlling possession and the game's lone goal scored from the penalty spot by Futty Danso.

The match was a chippy affair from the start as the Morelia players realized that they were in for a long night of chasing the play while the in-season Timbers moved the ball around the pitch. A hard foul on Michael Nanchoff was soon answered by the Timbers midfielder, earning him the game's first of seven yellow cards in only the twelfth minute and setting the tone for the rest of the match.

Despite Morelia's lack of instinctive offensive cohesion and preseason fitness levels, they still proved difficult to break down for the Timbers who were relying on Kalif Alhassan in the center of the pitch to provide the team's creative spark. However, when the Timbers were finally able to score, the final ball actually came from the outside.

In the 38', Sal Zizzo whipped in a cross from the right flank to Jose Adolfo Valencia. Trencito chested the ball to himself in the air and, under pressure, attempted a bicycle kick. He got good contact on the ball, but it was blocked by the extended arm of a Morelia defender and the referee did not hesitate to whistle the foul, pausing only momentarily to consult with his linesman and make sure that he handball had occurred in the box. It was a momentary piece of brilliance from Valencia, who worked hard to spread the Monarcas defense all evening.

With the referee pointing to the spot Futty Danso stepped up to take the Timbers' penalty kick. With a quick run up, Futty hit the ball straight down the middle, just clipping the underside of the bar on the ball's way into the back of the net and a 1-0 scoreline.

Things continued to go downhill for Monarcas a scant four minutes later as, following a penalty shout by Jefferson Montero that was instead ruled simulation, Aldo Leao Ramirez was summarily ejected from the game for grabbing the referee and using what the game's misconduct summary labels "abusive language."

In the second half the Timbers subbed off the majority of the players that might see some minutes against Columbus, instead bringing on a group of academy and U-23 players to fill in the gaps. It was against this group of teenagers that Morelia began to get back into the game, throwing numbers forward with a mounting sense of desperation as the game drew to a close.

The Timbers youngsters acquitted themselves well, however, and were able to see the game out without conceding. Milos Kocic had a fair amount to do with the Timbers' clean sheet as well, coming up big in two late game one on one situations, parrying away one shot and staying big enough to force another wide without having to even put a glove to it.

Coming out of the game the Timbers will be grateful to have come away with a win, some minutes for players who have not seen the pitch much in the last month, and no new injuries with which to contend.

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