Portland celebrates MLS Cup with 2-1 win over Columbus
March 6, 2016 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
PORTLAND -The Portland Timbers gave their fans the best possible start to the 2016 MLS season Sunday at Providence Park - a win before a raucous home crowd.
Diego Valeri scored in the 23rd minute in front of the Timbers Army, and Fanendo Adi scored in the 79th minute to give Portland a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew in a rematch of the MLS Cup final from December.
Portland celebrated it's 2015 Cup win prior to the game in several ways, then beat its opponent from the final by the same score - this time before a home crowd of 21,144.
"To see the banner of winning the 2015 (MLS Cup), that was amazing," Adi said afterward. "I think that emotion took us into the game, and we did well."
"It was a very important game for us, special," Valeri said. "The first one after the MLS Trophy, and we wanted to give the (win) three points to our fans. And, we did it."
Portland remained unbeaten in home openers in its sixth season in MLS.
The Crew actually held a number of statistical advantages from the match, including more passes, better passing accuracy and holding possession for more than 60 percent of the match. But, the Timbers won 50 of the 83 physical duels and turned them into 20 shots, eight of which were on target causing Columbus keeper Steve Clark to make six saves.
Portland keeper Adam Kwarasey made three saves.
Valeri's goal came off a free kick from 25 yards away on the left side. The right-footed kick cleared the Columbus wall and then curled into the near post to spark a celebration among a crowd that had been revved up for more than an hour of pre-game hype.
Portland continually pressured Clark with shots and had a pair of goals waived off for offsides and an inadvertent handball.
The tone of the game changed early in the second half and Federico Higuain scored on a bicycle kick in the 68th minute to tie the score.
Portland survived a strong series of action by the Crew directly following the goal, and Dairon Asprilla set of the winning goal with a drive up the left side that finished in a cross. After a couple touches, Adi jumped on the ball and slid the ball past Clark for the final score.
Columbus narrowly missed tying the game moments later when Higuain beat Kwarasey to his right, but the shot hit the post and bounced high and away from direct advantage.
Portland finished with a 20-19 edge in shots.
The Timbers continue their 34-game regular-season schedule at San Jose Sunday.
A 3-0 win over San Jose puts Timbers back into fifth place
Oct. 8, 2014
PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers beat San Jose for the second time in consecutive games thanks with a 3-0 win Wednesday night at Providence Park on a first-half goal from Rodney Wallace and two second-half goals by Diego Valeri.
With the three points, Portland temporarily moves two points ahead of the Vancouver Whitecaps for the fifth and final postseason spot in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference with two games remaining.
The Whitecaps face the playoff-bound Seattle Sounders on the road Friday in the first of their final three regular-season games.
Wallace sparked the Timbers for the second consecutive game. His two goals gave Portland a comeback, 2-1 win Saturday over San Jose that eliminated the Quakes from playoff contention.
On Wednesday, playing before another packed house, Wallace took a pass from Darlington Nagbe and launched a point-blank shot from the left side across the goal for a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute.
Then, Valeri took over, scoring in the 51st and 73rd minutes.
Portland owned much of the game, firing off 20 shots, including 10 that needed saving. San Jose did not get a shot on goal, allowing Donovan Ricketts to earn his fifth shutout of the season.
The Timbers play again Oct. 17 against playoff-bound Real Salt Lake in their final home game of the regular season, then close the regular season at playoff-bound FC Dallas, Oct. 25.
In between the final two games, the Timbers play CD Olimpia in Honduras in their CONCACAF Group final game.
The midfielder registers three assists in 3-3 draw with San Jose
Sept. 7, 2014
PORTLAND - Midfielder Diego Valeri tied an MLS career-high with three assists and the Portland Timbers received second-half goals from defenders Alvas Powell, Liam Ridgewell and substitute midfielder Kalif Alhassan in a come-from-behind, 3-3 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,814 at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Timbers (8-8-11, 35 pts) tallied the third-most shots in a single game in MLS history (32), and set MLS-club-record marks in shots on goal (13) and corner kicks (16) while consistently pressuring the San Jose defense. Maintaining nearly 58 percent of the possession in a dominant offensive performance, Portland attempted 19 shots in the first half, but conceded two goals against the run of play in the opening 48 minutes. Battling back from the two-goal deficit, Powell netted his second goal in as many games in the 54th minute and Ridgewell tallied his second career MLS goal for Portland with a one-time shot off a cross from Valeri in the 74th minute to tie the score, 2-2.
Forward Chris Wondolowski, who registered a brace for San Jose (6-10-9, 27 pts), tallied the go-ahead goal off a header in the 85th minute. Wondolowski put the Earthquakes in the lead with a rebound off a shot from midfielder Shea Salinas in the 21st minute before midfielder Cordell Cato made it a two-goal lead for San Jose in the 48th minute, capitalizing on a deflected ball behind the Portland defense.
Portland has registered at least one point in six of its last eight matches (4-2-2), while moving into sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference standings with seven matches remaining on the regular-season schedule.
Alhassan, who entered the match in the 61st minute, netted the game-tying goal with a close-range effort following passes from Valeri and Powell in the 86th minute. The goal was Alhassan’s first of the season for Portland, and extended the Timbers’ home unbeaten streak against San Jose to five consecutive matches (2-0-3).
The Timbers forced San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch to make 10 saves, including six saves in the opening 16 minutes of the match. Valeri registered individual Timbers’ MLS single-game records in shots (9) and shots on goal (5), while tying his own MLS single-game club record with three assists.
Valeri now ranks tied for second in MLS with 12 assists and is one assist shy of tying his own club MLS single-season record of 13 assists set in 2013.
Portland's victory Saturday boosts it within a win of post-season play
Aug. 9, 2014 / Associated Press
PORTLAND - Diego Valeri has had quite a week.
First he got the assist on Landon Donovan’s game-winning goal in the MLS All-Star game victory over German power Bayern Munich.
Then he scored his fourth goal in four games as the Portland Timbers beat struggling Chivas USA 2-0 on Saturday night.
“It was a special week. Obviously the most important is this win because we needed that. But the All-Star game — that was obviously special to me,” Valeri said.
Rodney Wallace also scored in Portland’s third victory at home this season. The win gave Portland (7-7-9) a share of fifth place in the Western Conference with 11 matches left.
Chivas (6-11-5), sitting in last place in the West, has lost four straight after a four-game winning streak.
“It didn’t go well for us in the first half. We were very tentative with the ball and we lost the ball in transition, and they took advantage of that,” Chivas coach Wilmer Cabrera said.
Earlier this week the focus was on Portland because of the Major League Soccer All-Star game at Providence Park.
Timbers coach Caleb Porter led the All-Stars to a 2-1 victory Wednesday night over Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich. Donovan scored the winning goal in his record 14th All-Star game appearance, and the next day the Galaxy forward announced he was retiring from soccer at the end of this season.
The Timbers had three players on the All-Star roster, including Valeri, but then it was back to business quickly as the team makes the push toward the playoffs.
Valeri scores early, but the high-powered home team responds, 3-1
August 2, 2014
LOS ANGELES - Despite taking an early lead on the road, the Portland Timbers couldn’t overcome a late second-half surge by host LA Galaxy, conceding two goals inside the final 20 minutes in a 3-1 loss before 20,089 fans at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., on Saturday afternoon.
Forward Robbie Keane tallied a second-half brace, including a penalty-kick goal in the 85th minute, as Portland sustained its first loss against the Galaxy since 2012, snapping a five-match unbeaten streak against the Western Conference side.
Midfielder Diego Valeri netted a goal for a third consecutive match for the Timbers (6-7-9, 27pts), providing Portland with a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute. Midfielder Gastón Fernández sustained a foul nearly 25 yards from goal, setting up a direct free kick which Valeri skillfully skimmed over the four-man defensive wall and into the upper-right corner of the goal for the early lead.
The Galaxy (9-4-6, 33pts) drew level in first-half stoppage time as forward Gyasi Zardes connected on a header from close range following a cross from left back Robbie Rogers. The goal was Zardes’ eighth of the season and second in as many matches.
Saturday’s result marked just the second time Portland has lost after scoring the opening goal since 2013 and only its second loss in the last eight road matches.
Keane delivered the go-ahead goal for the Galaxy in the 73rd minute, slipping midfielder Landon Donovan into the left side of the box with a through pass before peeling his run toward the back post. Donovan delivered a left-footed cross that Keane converted with a point-blank header just inside the far right post.
Minutes prior to the Galaxy taking the lead, Portland saw a chance for a penalty kick waived off by the referee in the 66th minute. Midfielder Kalif Alhassan beat Rogers into the box for a pass and was taken down, but the referee waived play on.
Portland was whistled for its league-leading ninth penalty kick when midfielder Juninho was fouled on the edge of the penalty box. Keane converted the spot kick to complete his brace in the 85th minute.