Highlights: Portland 2-1 Vancouver
PORTLAND, OR - Playing their fourth Cascadia Cup match of the season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-10L-7D) fell to a very disappointing 2-1 defeat at Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers (6W-13L-6D) in Major League Soccer on Saturday evening.
Goals by Darlington Nagbe and Franck Songo’o guided Portland to their first MLS victory under interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson and in front of a 30th consecutive sell-out of 20,438 at JELD-WEN Field in The City of Roses. This included more than 700 Whitecaps FC fans that made the trip down Interstate 5 to support the Blue and White.
Though Kenny Miller registered his first goal in MLS for Whitecaps FC, it was another Cascadia derby match to forget for the ‘Caps, who also finished the match with ten men after substitute Darren Mattocks was sent off in the late stages of the game.
Victory for the Timbers takes them three points clear of second-place Seattle Sounders FC in the three-club Cascadia Cup standings, while defeat for Vancouver makes their chances of winning the fan-based trophy this season very remote.
Playing in gorgeous summer conditions in Multnomah County, it was the Timbers that had the majority of the play up to halftime, as the home side created chances through Nagbe and Songo'o, while Bright Dike headed a close-range effort off the post on 27 minutes.
Portland opened the scoring on 41 minutes from a fine passing sequence that involved Dike, Eric Alexander, and Jack Jewsbury. The Timbers captain found a streaking Nagbe running into the ‘Caps box before he slotted home his sixth goal of the season for a 1-0 Portland lead.
Yet, as the match entered first-half stoppage time, Portland’s tendency to give up goals before the end of halves this season came back to haunt them again, and it was Miller that finally opened his MLS account with Whitecaps FC.
From a Vancouver corner, the Timbers failed to clear their lines, as DeMerit drove the ball back into the home side’s box with a mis-hit shot at goal. It fell kindly to an unmarked Miller, who turned and drove home his first Whitecaps FC goal past Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts for a 1-1 score at the break.
The late first-half equalizer left the match well poised for the second half, but Whitecaps FC were unable to build on getting back to level terms, even though Ricketts made two crucial saves from Barry Robson’s corner and Andy O’Brien’s header on 50 minutes.
Portland’s match winner came from a set-piece that was a dubiously-awarded free kick near the edge of the Whitecaps FC box on 55 minutes. Songo’o stepped up to curl his free kick over the Vancouver wall and under a diving Joe Cannon at the near post for his first goal of the season.
It left Whitecaps FC in need of finding another equalizer. The visitors created good chances through Miller, Richards, Robson, and John Thorrington, while Camilo had a curling strike cleared off the Portland goal line by Timbers defender Steven Smith on 74 minutes.
Yet, any hopes that the ‘Caps would find a way back into the match effectively ended on 84 minutes. Mattocks received a red card after match referee David Gantar adjudged that the young Jamaican struck Timbers centre back David Horst in the face with a raised arm. His sending off means the striker will miss next Saturday’s important trip to Western Conference rivals LA Galaxy.
Rennie’s squad will have to regroup and look to end a three-match losing streak in MLS when they travel to Southern California next weekend, while the Timbers will be pleased to have ended an eight-match winless streak with Saturday’s result.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Jay DeMerit
Referee: David Gantar
41' - POR - Darlington Nagbe (Jack Jewsbury, Eric Alexander)
45+1' - VAN - Kenny Miller (Jay DeMerit)
55' - POR - Franck Songo'o
Shots: Portland 16 – Vancouver 15
Shots on Goal: Portland 4 – Vancouver 8
Saves: Portland 6 – Vancouver 2
Fouls: Portland 9 – Vancouver 20
Offsides: Portland 0 – Vancouver 0
Corners: Portland 3 – Vancouver 5
32' - VAN - Alain Rochat
65' - VAN - John Thorrington
84' - VAN - Darren Mattocks
1.Donovan Ricketts; 15.Kosuke Kimura, 33.Hanyer Mosquera, 12.David Horst, 14.Steven Smith; 6.Darlington Nagbe (30.Lovel Palmer 90+2'), 13.Jack Jewsbury, 17.Eric Alexander (22.Rodney Wallace 79'); 7.Sal Zizzo, 19.Bright Dike (10.Danny Mwanga 86'), 8.Franck Songo'o
Substitutes not used: 23.Joseph Bendik, 2.Michael Fucito, 9.Kris Boyd, 98.Mamadou Danso
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 40.Andy O’Brien (15.Martin Bonjour 61'), 6.Jay DeMerit, 4.Alain Rochat; 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 11.John Thorrington (22.Darren Mattocks 65'); 20.Dane Richards (9.Atiba Harris 85’), 14.Barry Robson, 37.Camilo Sanvezzo; 7.Kenny Miller
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 3.Jordan Harvey, 16.Matt Watson, 31.Russell Teibert