PORTLAND, OR - In their second Cascadia Cup match of the season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5W-3L-4D) earned a 1-1 draw at Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers (3W-5L-4D) in Major League Soccer on Saturday evening.
In what was the 70th all-time meeting between Vancouver and Portland, substitute Darren Mattocks scored his first MLS goal to earn the ‘Caps a valuable away point at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Oregon. This after Timbers striker Kris Boyd had given the home side the lead midway through the second half. It was a battling display from Whitecaps FC, who redeemed themselves with an improved weekend performance following the midweek disappointment at Toronto FC in this year’s Amway Canadian Championship final.
“I think in a number of occasions, we fought to the end of games,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “I don’t think there was ever a moment of doubt by that. We talked about the fact that Portland loses a lot of goals in the final 50 minutes of games. Because of that, I think it stuck in our minds. We just kept going and I don’t think there’s a lot of games you can question the quality of play by these guys. Today, they showed it again, they showed the desire right to the end, especially with the amount of Whitecaps fans we had here really shows they believe in us.”
Despite playing in Southern Ontario on Wednesday night, Rennie gave many of the starting XI that faced TFC a chance to make up for a disappointing performance at BMO Field. There was only one change made to the line-up, as Davide Chiumiento replaced Eric Hassli in the Vancouver attack.
The pageantry and atmosphere that is a Cascadia Cup derby match in The City of Roses did not disappoint, as around 750 travelling Whitecaps FC fans made their way down Interstate 5 to support the Blue and White and be part of a sell-out crowd of 20,438. The Timbers, meanwhile, played in their ‘Rose City’ red kit for their opening Cascadia Cup match of 2012.
The first half saw Whitecaps FC look comfortable in possession on the narrow turf confines of JELD-WEN Field, as they fashioned some good passing movements in a couple of instances. While Vancouver kept the ball well, Portland actually created more of the first-half chances. Boyd had a couple of sights at goal, while Jack Jewsbury and Jorge Perlaza were off-target with headed opportunities for the Oregon-based outfit.
Whitecaps FC’s best chance before the break came in the 45th minute. Despite being taken down in the Timbers box, Camilo Sanvezzo got up and was on the end of Sébastien Le Toux’s byline cutback before striking his shot well wide. As the rain started to come down heavily, both sides went to halftime scoreless.
After seeing out an extended break of 24 minutes following a thunderstorm over JELD-WEN Field, the second half was more lively and produced the game’s two goals. Perlaza proved particularly dangerous for Portland after the restart. The Colombian created a fine chance for Darlington Nagbe on 50 minutes before forcing ‘Caps goalkeeper Joe Cannon into an excellent diving save on 64 minutes. Vancouver’s reply came through Le Toux, who drew an excellent reaction save from Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins with a deflected turn and shot in the Portland box.
It was the Timbers that drew first blood on 67 minutes following a spell of sustained Timbers pressure. After the home side won possession through Kalif Alhassan on the edge of the Whitecaps FC box, Cannon was unable to clear Jewsbury’s curling cross from the right and that allowed Boyd to poke home his fourth goal of the season for a 1-0 Timbers lead.
It was the third straight MLS contest that Portland had taken the lead over Whitecaps FC. Yet, unlike last season, where the Timbers went on to win both games, Vancouver responded well to falling behind. Gershon Koffie forced Perkins into a good save with a long-range strike on 72 minutes before Camilo drilled a low shot just wide of the target two minutes later.
As the match entered the dying stages, Rennie made two key substitutions by bringing on Hassli and Mattocks. On 84 minutes, the attack-minded pair had the desired impact on the game by creating Whitecaps FC’s equalizer. Martin Bonjour played a long free kick forward into the Portland box, where Hassli flicked the ball into the path of Mattocks. The Jamaican youngster did well to control the ball off his chest and strike a superb half-volley past Perkins to make it 1-1. It was the speedy striker’s first goal in MLS and he duly celebrated it in front of the travelling Vancouver support.
The goal delighted the visitors, while it left the Timbers frustrated again at conceding another late goal at home. More than two minutes of stoppage time were played before the final whistle confirmed a share of the spoils between these two Cascadia foes.
After playing eight matches in the month of May, Whitecaps FC will now take a two-week break before returning to MLS action on Sunday, June 10, when they host Eastern Conference side Houston Dynamo on Bell Pitch at BC Place. As for Portland, they have a quick turnaround to Wednesday night when they host amateur club Cal FC in the third round of the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Budweiser Man of the Match: John Thorrington
67' - POR - Kris Boyd
84' - VAN - Darren Mattocks (Eric Hassli, Martin Bonjour)
Shots: Portland 14 – Vancouver 6
Shots on Goal: Portland 3 – Vancouver 3
Saves: Portland 2 – Vancouver 2
Fouls: Portland 12 – Vancouver 12
Offsides: Portland 2 – Vancouver 3
Corners: Portland 7 – Vancouver 4
23' - VAN - John Thorrington
40' - POR - Steven Smith
70' - VAN - Martin Bonjour
90' - VAN - Darren Mattocks
1.Troy Perkins; 13.Jack Jewsbury, 5.Eric Brunner (12.David Horst 45'), 33.Hanyer Mosquera, 14.Steven Smith; 6.Darlington Nagbe, 21.Diego Chara, 17.Eric Alexander, 11.Kalif Alhassan (7.Sal Zizzo 79'); 9.Kris Boyd, 15.Jorge Perlaza (2.Michael Fucito 88')
Substitutes not used: 23.Joseph Bendik, 8.Franck Songo'o, 22.Rodney Wallace, 30.Lovel Palmer
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 15.Martin Bonjour, 6.Jay DeMerit, 4.Alain Rochat; 28.Gershon Koffie (29.Eric Hassli 72'), 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 11.John Thorrington; 20.Davide Chiumiento, 7.Sébastien Le Toux, 37.Camilo Sanvezzo (22.Darren Mattocks 83')
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 3.Jordan Harvey, 16.Matt Watson, 17.Omar Salgado, 19.Carlyle Mitchell