Two spectacular goal line clearances seal 2-1 win over Vancouver
The Portland Timbers ended Saturday’s Cascadia Cup match with Vancouver winless in their past eight matches, back to a 2-1 win over San Jose on July 3, but would break their winless streak with a 2-1 win over Vancouver on goals by Darlington Nagbe and Franck Songo’o, with Donovan Ricketts and Steven Smith making spectacular goal-line saves to secure the win before another sold out crowd of 20,438 at JELD-WEN Field. Kenny Miller had the lone Whitecaps goal.
The match would open up later on, but both teams were tight with their defensive formation early, and there were few early chances, with the Timbers controlling much of the early possession, and getting the first scoring chance in the 4th minute when Darlington Nagbe made a run to the top of the box, but his dipping shot was just over the crossbar. The Whitecaps would get their first good chance in the 11th minute when the Timbers failed to clear a corner kick, with Dan Richards getting a look from near the top of the box, but his curling shot was just wide right.
In the 14th minute, the Timbers kep good position before the ball feel to Franck Songo’o near the corner of the box, but his curling shot was easily stopped by Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
Three minutes later, a 50-yard outlet pass by Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts started a good opportunity, with the ball ending getting caught up in the feet of Sal Zizzo before Nagbe’s shot was deflected wide right.
In the 27th minute, the Timbers would come within inches of taking the lead when a Steven Smith cross from the left side was met well by the head of Bright Dike‘s, whose header from six yards out rattled off the right post and back out before being cleared by the Whitecaps defense.
Camilo would have a good look for the Whitecaps in the 37th minute, with an open shot from near the top of the Timbers box, but the shot was right at Ricketts and easily saved.
The Timbers would take the lead in the 41st minute, a goal set up by a nice sequence of passes between Dike, Eric Alexander, and Jack Jewsbury, whose his touch pass into the run of Nagbe setting up an open shot near the penalty spot, and Nagbe chipped it behind Cannon and into the net, and the Timbers had the 1-0 lead.
A reversed call by center referee David Gantar 30 seconds into stoppage time would cost the Timbers their lead, as an initial call of a goal kick was then changed to a corner kick, and the Timbers were unable to clear the ball and Kenny Miller would find himself wide open and just onside and would finish easily to level the score at 1-1, with the halftime whistle blowing just after the goal.
Just 40 seconds into the second half, Portland’s Dike would have a good look from 18 yards out, but the low shot was easily saved by Cannon.
In the 50th minute, the Timbers would have the first of two spectacular saves in the goal mouth, when off a Whitecaps corner, the ball was tipped by Ricketts who couldn’t control it, and fell to Andy O’Brien whose header from only few yards out was kept out by Ricketts reaching back and stopping the shot just before it crossed the line.
The match became more physical in the second half, and a holding foul by O’Brien on Dike set up a Timbers free kick from 30 yards out in the 55th minute. Songo’o would convert the free kick chance into a Timbers goal as he would curl the shot to the near post, seemingly surprising Cannon who let the shot slip through and into the net, and the Timbers had re-taken the lead on Songo’s first MLS goal.
Three minutes later, Vancouver’s John Thorrington had a good look from 18 yards out, but his open volley would slip just a yard or two wide right. In the 69th minute, the Timbers had a good chance when the ball was loose inside the Whitecaps box after a free kick near the corner, but Dike and Jewsbury got in each other’s way and couldn’t get a shot on goal.
Then in the 74th minute would be the second spectacular goal mouth clearance for the Timbers, after Ricketts had charged out to block an open run by Richards, but the ball would rebound to Camilo, who chipped Ricketts into the apparently open Timbers net, but Smith would recover to get his head to the ball and save the ball off the line.
Miller would have a chance for a second Vancouver goal in the 76th minute with an open header from 10 yards out, but his flicked header would be wide left. One minute later the Whitecaps would have another chance with a blast from 20 yards out by Barry Robson that Ricketts awkwardly pushed wide left.
In the 84th minute, the visitors would go down a player when Darren Mattocks threw an elbow that connected with David Horst, and was sent off after only 19 minutes on the pitch, so the Timbers would play the rest of the matc with the man advantage.
There was only one more good scoring chance in the match, this coming for the Timbers in stoppage time when Zizzo’s diagonal shot was just missed by Nagbe who had a chance to tap into the open net at the far post, but the Timbers would hold on for the 2-1 win, and are still undefeated vs. Vancouver at 3-0-2 in MLS play, and put the Timbers once again in the lead by 3 points in the 2012 Cascadia Cup.
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