Timbers give Minnesota a rude MLS welcome in 5-1 opening day rout
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The Portland Timbers opened up their seventh Major League Soccer season on a rainy, chilly night at Providence Park with a 5-1 win over the expansion club Minnesota United, who were playing their first MLS match. Former USL Timber and recent signee Lawrence Olum had the opener while Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi would each score twice while Christian Ramirez had the lone Minnesota goal.
The Timbers would have much of the early possession and would take the lead in the 14th minute when a Diego Valeri free kick from near the corner was flicked on by Vytautas Andriuskevicius to the foot of Lawrence Olum, who scuffed a shot up and over Minnesota goalkeeper John Alvbage and into the upper right had corner for the 1-0 lead.
The Timbers nearly doubled their lead in the 30th minute when a weak header by Minnesota’s Justin Davis back to his keeper was intercepted by Fanendo Adi, who attempted to find Valeri open in front of the net but Alvbage was able to deflect the cross just enough to kill the scoring attempt.
The home side would score again just after the break when Sebastián Blanco‘s cross from the right side found Valeri open near the penalty spot, and his header slipped just inside the left post for the 2-0 lead.
In the 78th minute the visitors would pull a goal back, scoring their first MLS goal when Johan Venegas slotted a nice pass between the legs of Diego Chara and Christian Ramirez turned on the ball at the top of the Timbers box, and slid a low shot low and inside the right post to pull the Loons within a goal at 2-1.
But it only took two minutes for the Timbers to re-establish their two-goal lead when Vadim Demidov was called for a foul in the box on Adi when he appeared to pull the Timbers forward down by his arm, and Valeri put the penalty kick just inside the left post to put the Timbers up 3-1.
Just seconds into stoppage time, the Timbers added a fourth when Darlington Nagble led a length-of-the-field 4-on-3 counterattack and slipped a pass to Adi at the top of the box, who faked Alvbage to the turf, then waited for a space between the two retreated defenders before calmly slotting the ball into the net for a 4-1 Timbers lead.
The home side weren’t finished yet as Adi would turn a forty-yard run and a 1-on-3 break into a fifth Timbers goal as he chipped Alvbage from a tight angle to add a fifth goal just before the final whistle for the 5-1 final, the first time in their Major League Soccer history that the Timbers have scored five goals at home.
Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and Minnesota keeper John Alvbage each recorded one save each on the night.