Second-half surge helps men slip past pesky Portland - The Province

Marc Weber

Caps 3 Timbers 1. Nash's goal in 66th minute the difference

Teitur Thordarson's halftime substitutions worked wonders for a Vancouver Whitecaps team devoid of life at Swangard Stadium on Saturday night.

A second-half switch by the Portland Timbers helped the home side deliver the death blow in a 3-1 win.

Tied 1-1 with Whitecap Justin Moose hovering over a free kick in the 66th minute, Timbers' boss Gavin Wilkinson inserted defender Tim Karalexis.

The fresh fullback promptly saw his header clearance land at the foot of Caps midfielder Martin Nash and the veteran pounded the pulp out of the ball, finding the far post from 22 yards out.

"It bounced nicely for me, I had a go and it went in the corner," downplayed Nash, who helped keep the Whitecaps (7-2-1) atop the USL-1 table. "It was a great

second half and that's the way we want to play for 90 minutes."

The Timbers (4-4-5) sapped the life out of the Whitecaps and the sellout crowd of 5,288 when Scot Thompson headed in the opening goal just nine minutes in.

It was a start disturbingly similar to the last home game when Seattle tallied twice inside seven minutes. And by the 45-minute mark, a listless Vancouver squad appeared in jeopardy of being chopped down at home for the third time in five games.

"We were poor in the first half," said Thordarson. "We have been a little bit tired after the road trip and in the training this week I have not felt that we were as fresh as we should be. I was a little bit afraid of this game actually because of that."

Substitute forward Jason Jordan and midfielder Alfredo Valente laid those fears to rest, pulling the Caps out of the woods early in the

second half. Both buzzed instantly and Jordan created the equalizer, chesting down a pass, juggling the ball into the box and ripping a shot off the left post that gifted a rebound goal to Eddy Sebrango in the 54th minute.

It was Sebrango's team-leading fourth of the season.

Nash struck the winner soon after and Valente finished off a pretty passing play for the 90th-minute insurance.

"I'm very happy that we managed to give the crowd something interesting," said Thordarson. "It was a fantastic second half."

When the score was still 2-1, goalkeeper Jay Nolly did well to keep the 'Caps in front. He stretched out to stop Bryan Jordan in tight after a poor back pass, then got his leg on Chris Brown's labeled 15-yard shot to deflect it wide.

© The Vancouver Province 2008