Major League Soccer - Providence Park
05/2/2015: Clear, 18C/65F
Pre-game records: Portland Timbers (W2-D3-L3) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (W5-D1-L3)
Portland Timbers – GLK Adam Larsen Kwarasey, DEF Alvas Powell, DEF Liam Ridgewell, DEF Nat Borchers, DEF Jorge Villafana, MID Rodney Wallace, MID Diego Chara, MID Jack Jewsbury, MID Darlington Nagbe, MID Ishmael Yartey, FWD Maximiliano Urruti. Formation: 4-2-3-1.
Vancouver Whitecaps: GLK David Ousted, DEF Jordan Harvey, DEF Pah Madou Kah, DEF Kendall Waston, DEF Ethen Sampson, MID Pedro Morales, MID Gershon Koffie, MID Russell Teibert, MID Mauro Rosales, MID Darren Mattocks, FWD Octavio Rivero. Formation: 4-2-3-1.
Game 9 of the MLS season:
On a beautiful day in the Rose City, the Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps squared off in what would be another game in the Cascadia Cup series and with the Portland Timbers having unluckily lost to the Seattle Sounders one week prior, they were looking to revive their season with a potential victory over a team flying high early in the season in the shape of the Vancouver Whitecaps. Caleb Porter decided to stick with the same side that lost their previous game except for the returning Rodney Wallace, showing faith in those that showed good possession play away to the Sounders.
The news that Diego Valeri was on the bench delighted not only Coach Porter but also the faithful home fans after a lengthy lay off through injury. Will Johnson was not quite ready to gain a position on the bench but his comeback from an ACL injury is also complete and he is expected to feature in the next game. Vancouver had started the season in excellent form and with 5 wins from 9 games, they began the game 7 points clear of the home side with Octavia Morales netting 5 goals in the process. The noise in the stadium before kick off was almost deafening as both the Timbers Army and the away fans were in full voice looking forward to a potentially cracking game.
First 20 mins: After a fairly even first 10 minutes former Timber Pah Madou Kah decided to ratchet up the intensity with what looked like an elbow into the face of Max Urruti but the referee decided against any malicious intent much to the dismay of the home crowd and did not book the Vancouver center back. To be fair, Urruti certainly made the most of it clutching his face. Rodney Wallace’ pace was exploiting the Vancouver right hand side and on 19 minutes, Vancouver right back Ethen Sampson was booked for a late challenge on Villafana putting him on the back foot. The Timbers were beginning to enjoy a good period of possession heading toward the 20 minute mark.
29 mins: PENALTY! The Portland Timbers were given a penalty after Kah handled the ball inside the area by raising his arm in an unnatural position from a Yartey cross. The referees’ assistant appeared to signal that it was indeed handball as the referee did not see the incident. Darlington Nagbe stepped up, sent the keeper the wrong way and hit the post to the disbelief of the home fans.
32 mins: Rodney Wallace once again wriggles free down the left hand side in a pacey attack and delivered a decent cross. Urruti managed to get free of his defender and was onside but headed the ball over the crossbar. Fernendo Adi on the bench must have wished he had that opportunity with that extra height. Still 0-0 and Portland dominated but just could not find the net.
Half Time Score: Portland Timbers 0-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
Shots: Portland Timbers 6-3 Vancouver Whitecaps
Possession: Portland Timbers 64%-36% Vancouver Whitecaps
52 mins: Coach Porter decided that it was time to bring on the crowd favorite and on comes one Diego Valeri for Ishmael Yartey to an ecstatic home crowd. The Timbers were once again dominating the game and pressing Vancouver back who showed very little in attacking prowess, mostly due to Portland’s excellent retention of the ball in this game.
66 mins: After a lull in the game with neither team creating much, Caleb Porter decided to introduce Fernendo Adi into the attack removing Max Urruti from the action. Within 2 minutes Adi broke deep inside the Vancouver half but dallied on the ball and lost out to Kah. Adi looked for a free kick but the referee wasn’t buying it.
72 mins: The Timbers pushing forward again and this time it falls to Darlington Nagbe whose shot is blocked by a defender and Jack Jewsbury finds himself at the edge of the box with a shot on goal which he fires low but there is not enough pace on it to trouble the keeper. A minute later Rodney Wallace is found on the left hand side by Nagbe and his low cross looks perfect for Diego Valeri but he scuffs his shot completely from a golden opportunity.
87 mins: Constant pressure from the Timbers and they came forward in waves at the Vancouver defense who stood resolute. Diego Valeri was throwing in numerous set piece crosses but the away side continued to block and clear away. This was a true game of defense versus attack and with the clean sheet, it was the Vancouver Whitecaps who came out on top as Portland just could not create clear cut chances.
This was a game that the Portland Timbers pretty much dominated from start to finish except for a cagey first 10 minute spell and Caleb Porter will feel that his team did more than enough to take the 3 points at home tonight. Chances came for Urruti, Jewsbury, and returning hero Diego Valeri but somehow the home team were unable to find the back of the net. Nagbe’s penalty miss proved crucial in the end as the match ended in stalemate with Vancouver much the happier team with the result. The Timbers are certainly looking more like the side of 2 season ago though when they won the Western Conference and supporters shield and with Diego Valeri back and looking sharp and Will Johnson to return soon, the future looks brighter for Caleb Porters team.
Full Time Score: Portland Timbers 0-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
Shots: Portland Timbers 13 – 7 Vancouver Whitecaps
Possession: Portland Timbers 65% – 35% Vancouver Whitecaps