Playing their second Cascadia Cup match of their inaugural Major League Soccer season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3W-13L-9D) went down to a 2-1 away defeat versus fellow MLS expansion cousins and Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers (8W-12L-5D) on Saturday evening.
First-half goals by the Colombian pair of Diego Chara and Jorge Perlaza gave the Timbers victory in this first-ever MLS meeting between Portland and Vancouver at JELD-WEN Field in The City of Roses. Though Camilo replied with a late goal for the 'Caps, it proved not enough in the end, as Whitecaps FC suffered a stinging defeat to one of their arch-rivals.
Saturday's result sees Whitecaps FC's pursuit for a first away victory in MLS continue, with the Blue and White suffering a second straight defeat on the road. The win for Portland ends their winless league run at three matches, with the Timbers completing a very busy week of MLS action on a high note. The result also takes Portland back in the hunt to defend their Cascadia Cup title, with the Timbers moving to four points from three derby matches played. Seattle Sounders FC lead the three-club Cascadia Cup standings with five points from three games played, while Vancouver are third with one point from two games played.
"The way we started out, giving up a goal that early, is so disappointing," said Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn. "We knew the first fifteen minutes were going to be energetic from Portland, but we lost the first half in that regard. Second half, we did a much better job, but ultimately, the stat that counts is the 2-1 result."
Soehn made three changes from the side that started last weekend's defeat at D.C. United. Joe Cannon returned in goal for Jay Nolly, while MLS SuperDraft pick Jeb Brovsky started at right fullback for Jonathan Leathers. Davide Chiumiento replaced Shea Salinas on the left-hand side of midfield. Playing their third match in less than a week, Timbers head coach John Spencer also made three changes to his line-up, with Mamadou Danso, Lovel Palmer, and Kalif Alhassan all returning to the Portland starting XI.
It was a hot summer's evening in The City of Roses, but not even poor weather would have halted a sell-out crowd of 18,627 from attending this much-anticipated match at JELD-WEN Field, with 500 Whitecaps FC fans travelling down Interstate 5 to support their side in the state of Oregon.
With the home side playing towards their loyal 'Timbers Army' following in the opening half, Portland gave their fans the best present they could have asked for. Less than two minutes into the match, a turnover led to the Timbers' Colombian attackers combining for the game's first goal. Perlaza slipped a pass on the edge of the Whitecaps FC box to Chara, who side-stepped Vancouver centre back Michael Boxall before driving a shot past a helpless Cannon to make it 1-0 to Portland. It was Chara's first goal in MLS.
With an early lead, Portland looked dominant in the early stages with possession and attacking intent. The Timbers had further efforts from Palmer on nine minutes, while Perlaza tested Cannon with a shot on the half-hour mark.
Vancouver's response to falling behind was positive, with Gershon Koffie hammering a shot just wide of the target on 16 minutes, while Camilo caused Portland problems with a well-taken corner ten minutes later.
When 'Caps fans might have started thinking that an equalizer might be coming, the Timbers took advantage of slack Vancouver defending to take a two-goal lead on 33 minutes. Portland captain Jack Jewsbury's free kick from the left hit Danso in the Whitecaps FC box. With the ball loose in front of goal, Perlaza was first to pounce and knock the ball home to make it 2-0. It was the South American's sixth goal of the season.
Portland's second goal was a real setback, as it left Whitecaps FC with a lot to do to turn the contest around. Both Camilo and Eric Hassli tried their best to pull a goal back before the break, but Vancouver's two attackers had their efforts saved by Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
Facing a two-goal deficit to start the second half, Whitecaps FC were more solid after the break, but struggled to create enough quality chances to turn the match back in their favour. Soehn used his three substitutions in a bid to find a spark after the restart, with Salinas, Mustapha Jarju, and youngster Omar Salgado seeing action in the late stages.
The visitors were active going forward, but Hassli, Jordan Harvey, and John Thorrington saw their efforts either saved by Perkins or miss the target before the midway point of the second half. As for Portland, they were unlucky not to extend their lead on 50 minutes after Alhassan took a pass in the Vancouver box from Chara before striking the post with a low drive.
As the match entered the latter stages, Jarju headed Camilo's corner just wide of the far post on 72 minutes for the visitors before the Brazilian was booked on 86 minutes when he handled Harvey's cross from the left in front of the Timbers goal. The yellow card from match referee Jair Marrufo was Camilo's fifth of the season, which means he will miss next weekend's home match versus Houston Dynamo.
Undeterred, Camilo came up again with a late consolation goal on the road for Whitecaps FC, as the Brazilian made it 2-1 on 88 minutes with a fine turn and shot after taking a forward ball from Harvey in the Timbers box. It was his eighth goal of the season and set up an interesting finish.
Though three minutes of time added on were played, Whitecaps FC were unable to find an leveller, as Portland took three valuable points towards their hopes of reaching the MLS Cup Playoffs in their expansion year. Whitecaps FC will now look to rebound from this latest defeat when they host Houston Dynamo on Bell Pitch at Empire Field next Saturday afternoon. Portland, meanwhile, have another short turnaround, as they host Western Conference rivals Chivas USA on Wednesday night.
2' - POR - Diego Chara (Jorge Perlaza, Jake Jewsbury)
33' - POR - Jorge Perlaza
88' - VAN - Camilo (Jordan Harvey)
Shots: Portland 10 - Vancouver 15
Shots on Goal: Portland 3 - Vancouver 4
Saves: Portland 1 - Vancouver 3
Fouls: Portland 11 - Vancouver 11
Offsides: Portland 2 - Vancouver 3
Corners: Portland 0 - Vancouver 7
23' - POR - Kalif Alhassan
48' - VAN - Jordan Harvey
73' - VAN - John Thorrington
86' - VAN - Camilo
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 26.Jordan Harvey, 6.Jay DeMerit, 2.Michael Boxall, 12.Jeb Brovsky; 20.Davide Chiumiento (22.Shea Salinas 63'), 33.Peter Vagenas (7.Mustapha Jarju 51'), 28.Gershon Koffie, 11.John Thorrington; 37.Camilo, 29.Eric Hassli (17.Omar Salgado 84')
Subs not used: 18.Jay Nolly, 14.Greg Janicki, 15.Philippe Davies, 25.Jonathan Leathers
1.Troy Perkins; 4.Mike Chabala, 12.David Horst, 98.Mamdou Danso (5.Eric Brunner 76'), 30.Lovel Palmer; 11.Kalif Alhassan, 21.Diego Chara, 13.Jake Jewsbury, 7.Sal Zizzo; 15.Jorge Perlaza (9.Bright Dike 69'), 33.Kenny Cooper (14.James Marcelin 83')
Subs not used: 24.Adin Brown, 6.Darlington Nagbe, 22.Rodney Wallace, 26.Brian Umony
Budweiser Man of the Match: Jay DeMerit