Offense shows signs of life, but defense can’t hold late lead over Vancouver
The Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps would re-ignite their rivalry that has gone back 37 years on Saturday night, as the Timbers hosted the Whitecaps at JELD-WEN Field, and though the Timbers would dominate much of play on this night, they could not make a Kris Boyd goal hold up, and would have to settle for a 1-1 draw in front of another sold-out crowd of 20,438 on a day that would feature blazing sunshine, torrential downpour, and a game delay for lightning.
It would be a pretty wide open match most of the night, and the first quality chance of the night would be for the Timbers in the 12th minute, with a steal by Portland’s Steven Smith setting up a good chance for Kris Boyd, but his shot from near the corner of the box was right to Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon and easily stopped. The next good opportunity would be in the 21st minute, with Jack Jewsbury getting a look from 20 yards out, but his shot would be deflected wide off a Whitecaps defender. Jewsbury would get his head on the ensuing corner, but this shot was also wide left.
In the 30th minute, Portland’s Kalif Alhassan did well to chase down the ball near the sideline, with Jewsbury then providing a cross that Jorge Perlaza got his head to, but slipped just left on the Whitecaps post. Three minutes later, Portland’s Boyd had a good look near the corner of the Whitecaps box, but sent the shot well over the crossbar. In the 37th minute, with the Timbers still keeping a lot of the possession, with the ball falling to Diego Chara near the top of theVancouver box, but the shot would be deflected wide left.
In about the 43rd minute, the dark clouds which had been approaching from the north suddenly opened up into a torrential downpour, but would also rain on the only quality chance of the first half for the Whitecaps, when just before first half stoppage time, Camilo and Sebastian Le Toux would work a nice give and go, with Le Toux crossing the ball back from the line to an open Camilo, whose shot from close-in was wide right, and the match would go into the rain soaked halftime at a 0-0 draw.
With lightning now flashing all around the stadium, even though the rain would ease up a bit, the match would be delayed about 20 minutes until the lightning moved away.
Four minutes into the second half, the Timbers had a great chance to take the lead when Perlaza found Darlington Nagbe open in the box with a cross from the right side but Nagbe one-timed well over the crossbar from close-in. After this first good chance of the half for the Timbers, it would be the visitors who would take over the run of play, and had a free kick just a foot outside the box in the 55th minute that Alain Rochat sent well over the crossbar. Three minutes later, it was Vancouver’s Davide Chiumiento who did well to chop a pass to Le Toux in the box, and the Vancouver forward turned and hit a deflected shot that Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins had to reach back to deflect wide.
In the 64th minute, Portland’s Boyd found Perlaza making a diagonal run into the Whitecaps box, and his tight angled shot would be saved well by a reaction save from Cannon. One minute later, Timbers fans and players would be incensed by what appeared to be a penalty claim when Vancouver’s Jay DeMerit slid in for a tackle on Alhassan in the box and appeared to get nothing but the feet of the Timbers midfielder, but center referee Jorge Gonzalez would waive off the penalty claim.
But two minutes later, the Timbers would finally find the net when Alhassan did well to steal the ball near the Whitecaps endline, and Jewsbury lofted a high pass that Cannon was only able to punch, and Boyd would need to go high with his boot to chip the ball towards net, but the touch would be enough and it would find the back of the net before Cannon could recover, and the Timbers had a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, the Timbers had another great chance when Perlaza broke in alone, his charge only being stopped when DeMerit retreated to stab the ball over the endline, though the center referee awarded a goal kick on the play.
In the 72nd minute,Vancouver’s Gershon Koffie would take advantage of an open look from 20 yards out, with a blast that Perkins had to dive left to smother. On the counterattack, Portland’s Boyd had another good chance on a run down the left side, but blasted his shot just high.
Two minutes later, the visitors came within a few feet of tying the match when Camilo’s blast from 20 yards out would slip just past the right post.
In the 83rd minute, there was moment of panic in the Timbers box when a high cross into the box appeared to be easily controlled by Perkins, but he fumbled the ball and it fell to the turf dangerously until he was able to cover it.
But then in the 84th minute, a moment of Timbers defensive indecision would lead to an equalizer when defender David Horst lost Whitecaps midfielder Darren Mattocks, who has just come into the match, and he would end up with an open look from 15 yards out, and would beat Perkins high to tie the match at 1-1.
In the first minute of stoppage time, a seemingly innocent high cross by Smith ended up being very dangerous as it dropped right on the crossbar, with Cannon having to tip the ball over at the last minute. But the Timbers could not threaten again and as become a common theme of their MLS history, the Timbers once again gave up a late lead and would have to settle for the 1-1 draw.