Timbers score early for 1-0 win over Nashville SC

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Diego Valeri scored an early goal and the Portland Timbers beat expansion Nashville SC 1-0 on Sunday.

Valeri scored in the 12th minute, with a volley to the far corner off a header from Andy Polo.

Valeri said afterward he wasn’t quite sure the goal was onside. But the flag never went up.

“I didn’t want to celebrate, just in case,” Valeri said. “But when I saw him after I kicked, I realized that it could be on, and yeah, I was so happy about it.”

Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said not only was it the winner, but the goal itself was a “masterpiece.”

“He is capable of doing those things. It was a very important play in which he found the right space and the finish was fantastic,” Savarese said. “What an amazing goal for him, and at the end of the day that gave us what we needed.”

The match came as the city of Nashville recovers from tornadoes that killed 24 people and caused massive damage in middle Tennessee last week.

Fans at the game displayed a large banner that said “Rose City (heart) Music City.” Players on both sides wore badges on their jerseys with the initials NGUOY, for Never Give Up On You. The jerseys were to be auctioned after the game with the proceeds going to the recovery effort. The Timbers also pledged $15 of every general admission ticket sold to tornado relief.

Categories: Sports – Soccer