Whitecaps FC put in gutsy road performance, earn 1-1 draw with Portland at Providence Park

PORTLAND, OREGON – In the build-up to Saturday’s Cascadia derby, Carl Robinson said there would be “no excuses” from his team despite fielding a young and depleted side.

Turns out they didn’t need any.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-8L-3D) put in a gutsy road performance and came away with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Portland Timbers (9W-7L-5D) on Saturday night at Providence Park.

POST-MATCH
INTERVIEWS:
 

After going down 1-0 in the 33rd minute, Matias Laba scored his first MLS regular season goal for Whitecaps FC early in the second half to help the visitors secure an important road point on a night they were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time.

As a result, Whitecaps FC maintain a one-point lead over the Timbers in the hotly contested Western Conference. The ‘Caps conclude the season series undefeated (1W-0L-2D) against Portland, who had won five straight games at home coming into Saturday’s contest.

Robinson made a pair of changes to his starting lineup after last weekend’s loss to SKC. With Kendall Waston away with Costa Rica at the Gold Cup and Pa-Modou Kah (calf) sidelined due to injury, Christian Dean got the nod at centre back for the first time this season.

Dean partnered in the middle with fellow 22-year-old MLS SuperDraft selection Tim Parker – forming an all-American back line with fullbacks Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey.  

Robinson also inserted Uruguayan midfielder Nicolas Mezquida in place of countrymate Cristian Techera, moving Mauro Rosales back to the right wing. Meanwhile, captain Pedro Morales (calf) missed his fifth straight match.

It was a young ‘Caps side, but they didn’t look overmatched by any means.

Vancouver came out on the front foot and looked the more likely side to score early. Kekuta Manneh had two fantastic chances in the opening half hour. The first was saved by Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey and the second was cleared off the line by a sliding Nat Borchers after a lovely build-up.

Portland also had a few half-chances in the first half and they eventually opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. After a turnover in midfield, Fanendo Adi played in Diego Valeri and the Argentine beat David Ousted at the near post to put Portland ahead 1-0.

The ‘Caps nearly manufactured an immediate response, but Kwarasey came up big again – this time on Octavio Rivero after the Uruguayan played a nice one-two with Mezquida.

Whitecaps FC outshot the Timbers 11-6 in an entertaining opening 45 minutes, but entered the break down a goal.

There wasn’t much happening early in the second half – until the 57th minute, that is. 

Laba draws the game level with a long-range blast

The unlikeliest of heroes leveled the game for Vancouver just before the hour mark, as Laba found the back of the net with a seeing-eye strike from distance. It was the Argentine’s first goal for Whitecaps FC in MLS regular season action and he celebrated it by running the distance of the pitch in the direction of the ‘Caps supporters’ section.

The Timbers had a few late chances, but the 10-men ‘Caps held on to secure the draw after Jordan Harvey was sent off for a late tackle in stoppage time.

Portland’s Will Johnson was also shown a red card moments after the final whistle. The Timbers captain picked up a pair of yellows for “unsporting behavior” and “foul and abusive language.”

The ‘Caps return to BC Place next Sunday to host San Jose Earthquakes (4 p.m. PT – tickets still available). They will then play back-to-back matches against Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders FC, including the club’s first-ever CONCACAF Champions League match on August 5 at BC Place.

Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! Whitecaps FC Season Tickets are now on sale. In addition to Season Tickets, Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.

UPDATED CASCADIA CUP STANDINGS

TEAM
PTS
GP
W
L
D
GF
GA
GD
6
3
2
1
0
4
4
0
5
4
1
1
2
3
4
-1
5
5
1
2
2
6
5
+1

* The first tiebreaker is "greater number of points in matches between the teams concerned," which is why Whitecaps FC sit above the Timbers despite having the same number of total points. 

REMAINING CASCADIA SCHEDULE

  • August 1: Seattle vs. Vancouver at CenturyLink Field
  • August 30: Seattle vs. Portland at CenturyLink Field
  • September 19: Vancouver vs. Seattle at BC Place

MATCH DETAILS

Budweiser Man of the Match: Matias Laba
Referee: Juan Guzman
Attendance: 21,114

Scoring Summary
33’ – POR – Diego Valeri (Fanendo Adi)
57’ – VAN – Matias Laba (Kekuta Manneh)

Stats
Shots: Portland 14 – Vancouver 16
Shots on Goal: Portland 3 – Vancouver 6
Saves: Portland 4 – Vancouver 2
Fouls: Portland 12 – Vancouver 14
Offsides: Portland 2 – Vancouver 2
Corners: Portland 7 – Vancouver 7

Cautions
22’ – VAN – Tim Parker
36’ – POR – Liam Ridgewell
47’ – POR – Diego Chara
90’ + 3’ – POR – Rodney Wallace
90’ + 5’ – POR – Will Johnson

Ejections
90’ + 2’ – VAN – Jordan Harvey
90’ + 5’ – POR – Will Johnson

Portland Timbers
12.Adam Kwarasey; 2.Alvas Powell, 7.Nat Borchers, 24.Liam Ridgewell, 19.Jorge Villafana; 21.Diego Chara, 4.Will Johnson ©; 6.Darlington Nagbe (10.Gaston Fernandez 83’), 8.Diego Valeri, 11.Dairon Asprilla (22.Rodney Wallace 67’); 9.Fanendo Adi (37.Maximiliano Urruti 76’)

Substitutes not used
33.Andrew Weber, 13.Jack Jewsbury, 20.Taylor Peay, 23.Norberto Paparatto

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 
1.David Ousted ©; 33.Steven Beitashour, 26.Tim Parker, 22.Christian Dean, 2.Jordan Harvey; 15.Matías Laba, 28.Gershon Koffie; 7.Mauro Rosales (31.Russell Teibert 84’), 9.Nicolás Mezquida (13.Cristian Techera 67’), 23.Kekuta Manneh (38.Kianz Froese 90’ +1’); 29.Octavio Rivero

Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 18.Diego Rodriguez, 19.Erik Hurtado, 20.Deybi Flores

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