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USA Tour match report: Timbers 2-2 Villa [Villa win on pens]
Paul Lambert enjoys unbeaten USA record.
25th Jul 2012
USA Tour match report: Timbers 2-2 Villa [Villa win on pens]


By Paul Brown in Portland

Never mind Saving Private Ryan. It was Saving Brad Guzan as the ace goalkeeper won a shoot-out for Villa in front of watching Tom Hanks.

Paul Lambert's Lions showed they were in a League of their Own from the spot, with five brilliant penalties to decide an exciting game that finished 2-2.

After going the wrong way for the opening four, Guzan made himself Big to save the final effort and ensure Villa leave the USA unbeaten.

The deadball duties followed a pulsating game which saw Ciaran Clark head Villa in front just before the break.

Sebastian Rincon equalised for the home side with a tap-in but Matt Lowton restored the lead with a thumping header following great work from Barry Bannan and Nathan Baker.

But immediately Timbers were level once again, Rodney Wallace striking a shot against the former Sheffield United man which looped past Guzan.

In true American style, the draw was considered too drab as a finale so penalties were required, with Barry Bannan, Eric Lichaj, Gary Gardner, Charles N'Zogbia and Samir Carruthers proving the match-winners.

Hollywood megastar Hanks certainly picked a great game as his first to attend with Villa guaranteed to have made a Splash in his claret and blue consciousness.

The first half began in exuberant circumstances with the crowd really getting behind the home side.

It certainly wasn't Sleepless in Portland with Timbers Joe whipping the crowd into a frenzy with every home attack.

Thankfully, there weren't too many in the first period with Villa playing brilliant football and creating chances in abundance.

The first effort came on 16 minutes, with the lively Brett Holman playing a throughball to Stephen Ireland who finished with aplomb.

Unfortunately the linesman's flag had been raised in the build-up.

Aussie Holman was in on the act again on 21 minutes, twisting and turning before letting fly with an effort which flew just wide.

Former Rangers striker Kris Boyd had the Timbers first effort of the game on 25 minutes but he blazed his shot high over the bar.

Clark, who has proven to be assured and comfortable at the back in pre-season, gave Villa the lead on 41 minutes, nodding home from five yards out at the back stick.

The first half flew by like the Polar Express and Villa were up and at it again as the second period began.

Nathan Delfouneso just couldn't reach an amazing Lowton ball into the box from the right on 49 minutes while Bannan's threaded pass through to Holman was just too strong five minutes later.

Lovel Palmer had a shot from 30 yards deflect wickedly over on 58 minutes before Lambert made a glut of changes in personnel.

Andi Weimann, Stephen Warnock and James Collins were replaced by N'Zogbia, Enda Stevens and Lichaj as the boss looked to freshen things up.

Villa could have been two to the good just after the hour mark with yet more incisive, fluid football.

N'Zogbia played a precision pass to Holman who fed Ireland through the middle. The twinkle-tied midfield ace played in Delfouneso who stroked the ball home. Once again, though, the linesman had raised his flag.

Timbers certainly weren't ready to raise the white flag and following more subs from Villa, Baker, Gardner, Daniel Johnson and Carruthers replacing Clark, Karim El Ahmadi, Ireland and Holman, the home side gave their following something to cheer about.

Frank Songo'o swung in a corner and Ryan Kawulok flicked the ball on to Rincon who taped home from close-range.

The joy was short-lived as Lowton headed Villa in front once again, Baker cushioning the ball to the right-back after a delightful corner from Bannan.

But Villa's joy was also short-lived, Wallace's shot deflecting off Lowton and dipping past Guzan.

But the USA giant wasn't to be outdone and had his revenge in the exciting shoot-out.


Scoring Summary: Villa Clark 42, Lowton 80/Timbers: Rincon 76, Wallace, 81

Shootout Summary:

1 Timbers: Rincon - Goal
1 Villa: Bannan - Goal
2 Timbers: Jean-Baptiste - Goal
2 Villa: Lichaj - Goal
3 Timbers: Songo'o - Goal
3 Villa: Gardner - Goal
4 Timbers: Renken - Goal
4 Villa: N'Zogbia - Goal
5 Timbers: Dike - Saved
5 Villa: Carruthers - Goal

Timbers: Perkins (Bendik, 45), Kawulok, Purdy, Horst (Jean-Baptiste, 62), Chabala (Renken, 88), Zizzo (Fucito, 71), Jewsbury (Braun, 45), Palmer (Wallace, 74), Nagbe (Songo'o, 45), Richards (Rincon, 69), Boyd (Dike, 45). Substitutes Not Used: Danso, Kimura, Alexander, Alhassan, Mwanga.

Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Collins (Lichaj, 59), Clark (Baker, 67), Warnock (Stevens, 60), Holman (Johnson, 68), El Ahmadi (Gardner, 68), Bannan, Ireland (Carruthers, 68), Delfouneso, Weimann (N'Zogbia, 59). Substitutes Not Used: Marshall.

 


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