Timbers. Manchester City. It happened.
  • Chad Kula
  • Timbers. Manchester City. It happened.

The Portland Timbers fell to Manchester City tonight 3-0 on a gorgeous summer evening at University of Portland's Merlo Field in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,018.

Let me just say that again: The Portland Timbers fell to Manchester City tonight 3-0 on a gorgeous summer evening at University of Portland's Merlo Field in front of a sold out crowd of 5,018.

Just writing a sentence that includes both "Portland Timbers" and "Manchester City" is kind of an amazing thing. Sure, Portland has had international exhibitions in the past against teams from England, Mexico, and Costa Rica, but Manchester City is really at an entirely new level of skill and prestige. The very fact that the game even existed and that players like Ryan Pore were going up against Emmanuel Adebayor and that Alex Nimo tangled with Patrick Vieria is a sign that things are changing. The Timbers are moving up to a bigger level altogether.

  • Brian Costello

Consider the fact that Man City is believed to be one of the wealthiest clubs in the world that has already dropped close to $90 million this summer on new players alone. $90 MILLION. To say that the Timbers were able to hold their own for a while—even if the Blues were playing at a leisurely pace—is still quite an accomplishment.

More pictures and details after the jump!

Alex Nimo pushing forward.
  • Chad Kula
  • Alex Nimo pushing forward.

Manchester City came out wearing their sharp third kid whites with the Timbers in their alternate all-black kit. For the night, the two teams were almost even in shots with Manchester City leading 14-13. There were few fouls though both teams attacked aggressively with quite a bit of back and forth open ended play. Welsh international Craig Bellamy—rumored to be on his way out of City—was a threat for much of the first half with quick runs down the right side and some quick parrying shots on Timbers keeper Steve Cronin.

However it was City's Stephen Ireland who broke open the scoring with a goal that bounced off some part of his body almost accidentally in the 43rd minute via a cross from Adam Johnson. Johnson went right back down a minute later with another beautiful floating through ball to Adebayor who headed in a prettier goal in the 44th.

But it's not as if the Timbers did not have some chances. They tried to catch the Blues napping early on with shots by both George Josten and Derek Gaudet in the 4th and 6th minutes respectively. Both were saved expertly by England's World Cup backup goalie Joe Hart. Portland's finishing—an occasionally vexing problem for the team all season—did not do them any favors this evening though forward Bright Dike continued his strong play and Takayuki Suzuki had moments of inspiration as well.

Steve Purdy on a clever run inside.
  • Chad Kula
  • Steve Purdy on a clever run inside.

The second half brought on near wholesale lineup changes to both sides with Man City flooding the field with many of their reserves and Academy players. Blues forward Jo toyed with the Timbers defense and slotted home a low shot to the right corner in the 68th minute to make it 3-0 while fellow striker Alex Nimley threatened throughout. Mandjou Keita almost put the Timbers on the board in the 84th minute with a shot and again off the rebound but it was not meant to be.

Portlands Takayuki Suzuki giving Manchester Citys Micah Richards some concern
  • Chad Kula
  • Portland's Takayuki Suzuki giving Manchester City's Micah Richards some concern.

To a man, Manchester City was physically bigger, closed to the ball with breakneck speed, and finished with such nonchalance that it was almost unfair. But looking past the score, it is still amazing to note that the Timbers hosted a major international side with class and gamesmanship. They did not lie down, they did not give up, and in some fleeting moments—particularly in the first half—the Timbers were on par with Manchester City. With the Portland's league play picking back up this week against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first of four games on the road, they can feel happy about their ability to play against top level teams and continue their drive towards a successful season.

Additional Recaps
Manchester City website - which mistakes University of Portland for University of Oregon.
Associated Press
Prost Amerika - Yes, it's from Seattle. I sat next to their writer in the press box and he's a true gent. It's a great writeup!

Starting Lineups:
POR: GK Cronin, D Purdy, D Smith, D Danso, D Joy, M Nimo, M McManus, M Nimo, M Pore, F Josten, F Dike

MCFC: GK Hart, D Boyata, D Mee, D Cunningham, D Trippier, M Ireland, M Zabaleta, M Johnson, A., M Vieira, F Adebayor, F Bellamy

Scoring Summary:
MCFC: Ireland (Johnson, A.), 43
MCFC: Adebayor (Johnson, A). 44
MCFC: Jo, 68
Lineups and scoring summary courtesy of the Portland Timbers.