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Whitecaps spurn chances in draw with Timbers

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The Vancouver Whitecaps created plenty of chances, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers Saturday at the preseason Cascadia Cup in Tukwila, Wash.

The Timbers scored inside of the first 10 minutes, with Ryan Pore — who spent three years with the Kansas City Wizards — slamming a the ball home after Whitecaps’ keeper Jay Nolly spilled it after the initial shot.

Portland dominated the first 20 minutes of the game, but the Whitecaps grew into the match. Jonathan Leathers, the former Kansas City midfielder, grew in stature as the game went on, spraying passes around the park. It was Leathers who created the equalizing goal; his deft pass found Blake Wagner; his shot crashed off Timbers keerper Adin Brown, then went off defender David Horst for an own goal.

Alain Rochat also had a monster of a first half; the Swiss defender made a number of runs down the left side and showed that he’s able to activate the counter with some smart, accurate passes. But Rochat was forced to leave the game in the second half with an injury, which placed a damper on the game. He limped off the field. Rochat shows all the signs of a player who really can’t be replaced.

It was more than a little ironic that the Whitecaps got their goal on a fluke; because they spurned a heck of a lot more clear-cut chances.

Atiba Harris, the former FC Dallas striker, smacked a first-half effort off the post. And, in the second half, his long laser beam of drive forced Brown into an excellent save.

Russell Teibert, who has enjoyed an excellent camp with the Whitecaps, created a stir after he came into the game as a second-half sub. He slotted a ball back to Terry Dunfield — who had clear sight of goal. But Dunfield, who looked surprised by the pass, sent a shot over.

The Timbers, though, had a great chance to win it just seconds before the final whistle. Back-up Whitecaps keeper Joe Cannon had to stretch to knock a half-volley chance from Rodrigo Lopez.

Cannon looked great, while Nolly flubbed his line on the Timbers goal.

The Timbers sat most of the players who we expect to be opening-day starters, as they played Friday against the Seattle Sounders.

Trialist strikers Long Tan and Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo had some decent runs into the Portland box, but both were guilty of trying to dribble past one too many defenders, and not using their teammates. Both gave up the ball far too often.

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