Diego Valeri scored in the 12th minute for his second goal in as many matches to propel the host Portland Timbers to a 1-0 victory over expansion Nashville SC on Sunday.
Steve Clark finished with four saves for the Timbers (1-1-0, 3 points), who are off to a better start than each of the last two seasons. Portland began the 2018 campaign by going winless in its first five matches (0-3-2) and failed to emerge victorious after six games (0-5-1) in 2019.
Joe Willis made one save for Nashville SC (0-2-0, 0 points), who were unable to take advantage of their nine corner kicks to fall for the second straight week.
Nashville SC dropped a 2-1 setback to Atlanta United in their MLS debut on Feb. 29.
Valeri followed up his goal off a penalty kick in last week's 3-1 setback to Minnesota United by opening the scoring on Sunday night. The former MLS MVP settled a headed pass from Andy Polo and swiftly provided the finish with a shot into the far side of the net in the 12th minute.
The goal was Valeri's 78th in 213 career MLS matches for Portland. He also joined Gaston Fernandez (2014) as the lone Timbers players to score in each of their first two games of a season.
The Timbers, however, found themselves in a defensive shell for the remainder of the match. They failed to record a shot on goal after Valeri's tally.
Nashville SC's best chance to answer came in the 69th and 76th minutes, respectively.
Anibal Godoy's left-footed blast from just outside the box was denied by a diving Clark in the 69th minute. Daniel Rios, who had some fresh legs after coming in as a substitute in the 71st minute, saw his bid from the right doorstep sail just outside the near post.