Timbers top Whitecaps 2-1 to win Western Conference, Cascadia Cup
The Portland Timbers knew they had an important match with much on the line on Sunday at Providence Park. A win would not only win the Timbers their second Western Conference regular season title in seven years in MLS, but it would also secure the Cascadia Cup for the second time since joining MLS, and fourth time overall. The Timbers did not disappoint, rallying after Vancouver put the Timbers down 1-0 on a Kendall Waston header, with Liam Ridgewell tying the score three minutes later, and former Whitecaps Darren Mattocks getting the game winning goal in the second half.
The Timbers would have the majority of the run of play, possession, and shots on goal on the night, but it was the Whitecaps who were on the scoreboard first, when in the 29th minute, Yordy Reyna‘s free kick from 30 yards out was met by a free header from Kendall Waston, who put the ball past Jeff Attinella and into the net in front of a stunned Timbers crowd for the early 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Timbers to reply, as three minutes later, when a corner kick from David Guzmán went all the way to the far side of the box to Darlington Nagbe. The Timbers midfielder trapped the ball then hit a curling shot that Whitecaps goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic was able to block but not control, but Liam Ridgewell was right there to jump on the loose ball and chip it past the prone Whitecaps keeper to level the score at 1-1.
Just before the half the Timbers had a great chance to take the lead when a loose ball in the Whitecaps box was kicked at many times by both teams before Sebastián Blanco was able to poke a shot towards goal, with Vancouver defender Jordan Harvey making a brilliant kick save to keep the ball out of the net, and the scores were level 1-1 at the half.
It only took three minutes for the home side to take the lead in the second half, as Blanco was able to pull several defenders to him as he did well to keep control cutting across the top of the Whitecaps box, then slipped a beautiful pass behind the Vancouver defender and into the run of Vytas, who got to the ball just before the Vancouver keeper, slipping a pass to an open Darren Mattocks, who one-timed the ball past two Whitecaps defenders who attempted to block the ball on the line, but were unable to keep the shot out and the Timbers had surged to a 2-1 lead. Six minutes later Mattocks had a chance to double the lead, but his tight angle shot was saved nicely by Marinovic.
Blanco would have two low shots slip just past the Whitecaps left post during the following run of play, but the Whitecaps would come close to tying the score on a play nearly identical to their opening goal, as along free kick finding Waston open, this time at the far post, with his header getting past Attinella but being cleared off the line by Ridgewell, with Brek Shea recovering the loose ball and once again crossing to Waston, whose second header attempt was over the bar. In stoppage time the Whitecaps would get one final chance to pull level and win the Western Conference when Fredy Montero had a low shot that Attinella was able to smother, and the Timbers held on for their first Western Conference title since 2013, and first Cascadia Cup since 2012.
Jeff Attinella had one official save for the Timbers, while Stefan Marinovic recorded four for the Whitecaps.