Alpha United’s poor showing in the CONCACAF Champions League continued yesterday as they were crushed 4-1 by MLS unit Portland Timbers in their second group fixture at the National Stadium, Providence.
Steve Zakuani, Maximiliano Urruti, Fanendo Adi and Alvas Powell settled the result for the North Americans on either side of half time with goals in the 17th, 33rd, 65th and 83rd minutes respectively. On target for the locals was right fullback Barbosa Murilo in the 44th minute.
Beginning the brighter of the two sides, Timbers would take the lead as Zakuani opened the scoring for the visitors, placing his strike into the lower right hand corner from the centre of the area, after racing onto a perfectly placed Ben Zemanski through pass from the centre of the field.
It would go from bad to worse for the home side as Urruti scored, rifling his effort into the left hand corner, after pouncing on a ball unchallenged inside the right side of the penalty area, following a defensive mix-up between the centrehalf pairing.
A moment of individual brilliance by Murilo would cut the deficit to one for the home side. Tasked with taking a spot-kick 25 yards from goal in the centre of the park, Murilo would unleash a curling right footed effort which came crashing off the crossbar and settled into the goal.
Beginning the second half like they ended the first, the home side almost drew level in the 46th minute through a flat left footed Caio Oliviera drive, which forced a smart save from the Timbers custodian low to his right, tipping the danger to safety around his right upright.
That attempt would prove to be the last real threat fashioned by the home side as the visitors almost added to their lead in the 64th minute through a Michael Nanchoff effort.
Picking up the ball 24 yards from goal in the centre of the park, Nanchoff would let fly a powerful left footed screamer that had goal written all over it, only to come cannoning off the crossbar, much to the relief of custodian Ronson Williams.
Coming on in the 55th minute to replace Urruti, substitute centre forward Adi would increase the visitors lead one minute later, flicking his effort into the lower left hand corner, after collecting a pass within the left side of the six yard area.
Powell would then seal the win, nonchalantly placing his right footed effort into the empty net, after receiving a flat left sided Rodney Wallace cross which evaded both centre-halves and custodian unmarked inside from the right side of the box.
With the loss, Alpha Unite now sit at the bottom of the group with two losses in as many games. Alpha will now open their away campaign again Olimpia on August 28th in Honduras. They will then close out their campaign on September 23rd against Portland Timbers in the USA.
Speaking at a press conference following the conclusion of the matchup, winning coach Caleb Porter said “I am very pleased with the result but more so with the way we played. It was a professional and comprehensive display”.
He further said “We scored four goals two of which were great goals. It was tough to give up that goal, there was not much you could do about that it was a classic goal. But I really liked our response in the second half”.
Porter said “Obviously we knew it would be a tough test in conditions we don’t normally play in. Credit to Alpha there made it a game but our experience and overall organization was the reason we prevailed”.
Losing coach Wayne Dover said “As I mentioned before we came for the result, we were disciplined early on in what we wanted to do on the field but we lost discipline in the latter stages. We definitely saw the difference between professionals and amateurs”.
Dover further said “We had some good chances but made some elementary mistakes and we didn’t play as disciplined as we should. It is not over yet though even though it will be difficult to qualify. If we don’t qualify, we can appreciate that we played at this level and the guys got the experience”.