Timbers draw Saprissa 1-1, but not good enough to advance to CCL knockout round
The Portland Timbers knew they needed a win over Deportivo Saprissa to advance in the 2016-17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, and though they fought back to a 1-1 draw on a second half goal by Jack McInerney, it wasn’t enough and the Timbers failed to advanced to the knockout stage of the tournament.
The first minutes saw the Timbers with a fierce attack on the Saprissa goal, with the fans and Timbers players screaming for a penalty kick over an apparent handball and then a reckless tackle on Lucas Melano in the Saprissa box, but Referee Walter Lopez waved play on. As the Saprissa win in September in Costa Rica had seen two penalty kicks for the home side as the difference in the match, it was especially disappointing for the Timbers fans. In the 17th minute, Melano would have another good chance off a Jack McInerney pass, but his blast was parried wide
Rolando Blackburn would put the visitors ahead in the 24th minute on an open header when he found separation between the Timbers defenders, and the Timbers knew they would have to score twice to advance as only a win would do.
The Timbers would make a run of good chances finally pay off in the 57th minute when McInerney would connect with a perfect header off a Jack Barmby corner, with McInerney’s shot slipping just inside the right post past Saprissa goalkeeper Danny Carvajal to level the match at 1-1.
The Timbers would have many good chances on open looks and set pieces to get the game-winning goal, though the Timbers players and fans were also getting more and more frustrated by Saprissa attempting to waste as time off the clock as possible, especially on goal kicks and corner kicks. But Saprissa were able to run the clock out on the Timbers chances and advance to the next round of the CCL with the 1-1 draw, winning the group with 10 points vs. the Timbers 7 points in four matches.