Martina scores twice, Toronto sends Timbers to 0-2 mark
TORONTO — Javier Martina scored two goals, including a gorgeous volley from long range, and Toronto FC beat Portland 2-0 on Saturday.
The Dutch winger conjured a highlight-reel goal out of nothing in the 70th minute, pulling down a booming goal kick from Stefan Frei and then volleying it from outside the box over reserve goalkeeper Jake Gleeson.
The artistry seemed to inspire Toronto, which finished strongly before a crowd of 20,086 who braved weather better suited for outdoor hockey than soccer.
The fans gave Martina a standing ovation when he was substituted with three minutes remaining.
Toronto went ahead in the 14th after a through ball from Maicon Santos to Dwayne De Rosario slashed open the defense. A Timbers player got his body between De Rosario and the goal but the Toronto captain flicked the ball back on an onrushing Martina who poked it in past Adin Brown.
Turnovers began to cost Toronto as the half wore on, with the home side repeatedly giving the ball away. There were also occasional glimpses of the Three Stooges-like defending that cost TFC in last week's opener but Portland could not take advantage.
The Timbers outshot Toronto 5-4 in the first half but failed to put any on target. Toronto had one shot on target and made it count.
Portland switched goalies at the half, with New Zealand under-20 international Gleeson coming in for Brown, who injured his hamstring. No. 1 goalkeeper Troy Perkins sat out the game with a knee sprain.
Gleeson had to make a big save within minutes after Alan Gordon flicked the ball on to Santos. Soon after Frei had to turn aside a hard shot from Rodney Wallace.
Wallace shot wide again in the 69th minute.
The Timbers appeared to be running out of goalies when Gleeson went down after hurdling an attacker to punch away a corner. But he limped to his feet and continued.
Both teams were coming off losses. Toronto looked poor in a 4-2 loss away to expansion Vancouver while the Timbers were beaten 3-1 on the road by defending champion Colorado.
It was a chilly day down by the lake, with a temperature of 25 feeling more like 15 as Toronto players wore winter hats on the field for their warmup.
Mikael Yourassowsky came in for the injured Nana Attakora in the Toronto backline, playing left back, with Adrian Cann returning to his accustomed center back role. Alan Gordon started at forward.
Yourassowsky was sent off with six minutes remaining when he got a second yellow card, apparently for time wasting, as he was substituted.
NOTES: Toronto hosts Chivas USA next Saturday. Portland returns home to play Chivas USA on Tuesday in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier. ... Coming into the game, Portland forward Kenny Cooper had six goals in his last four games against Toronto. ... Saturday's game was Toronto's earliest home opener. The previous earliest was April 4, 2009, when TFC hosted Seattle. ... MLS refs are using temporary spray paint this season to mark proper positioning for free kicks and defensive walls. The paint disappears quickly.