Portland pounds the expansion club 5-1 before home crowd
PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers are going to need a bigger log if Friday's season opener was any indication of the season ahead.
Sparked by a goal in the 14th minute, and capped by three goals in the final 11 minutes of play, Portland beat expansion Minnesota United 5-1 in the season opener for both teams Friday at Providence Park.
Newcomer Lawrence Olum scored first for Portland, and Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi each talled twice as the Timbers pounded the visitors before yet another raucous, sold out crowd. The Timbers edged Minnesota 13-11 in shots, but had a 6-2 edge in shots on goal.
Both of Adi's goals were in extra time.
Portland returns to action Sunday at Los Angeles against the Galaxy, and returns home March 18 to play the Houston Dynamo.
Portland starts Season 7 in MLS at home vs. expansion foe
March 3, 2017 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
A season after getting largely overworked by a schedule that seemed to not end from the title season the previous year, the Portland Timbers are back to chase their second league title.
Portland opens its 2017 MLS season Friday against Minnesota United at Providence Park.
A late-season slump caused the Timbers to miss out on the playoffs last season, but it helped the team recupperate for this season and retool its lineup.
Leading scorer Fanendo Adi remains as the team's top offensive threat, while midfielder Darlington Nagbe is working his way into the national landscape on Team USA. And, fan favorite Diego Chara isn't going anywhere. Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson returns as well.
Two key losses are defender Nat Borchers, who retired, as did long-time captain Jack Jewsbury.
“We are hoping that it is going to be a very good season,” striker Fanendo Adi told the press at training on Tuesday. “We had a very successful preseason, playing friendly games against very good teams, so we are hoping that will translate into the games that matter the most. Hopefully we will go into the game on Friday with confidence from our last game.”
Of course, the Timbers have had their fair share of success in recent years. They finished the 2013 season on top of the West before making a run to the Conference Championship in the postseason, then surged to MLS Cup 2015, where their 2-1 win over Columbus Crew SC made history for the club.
In both of those seasons, the Timbers were bouncing back from disappointment. The 2012 season marked Portland’s worst year in their MLS era, forcing the club to make their only coaching change since joining the league as they finished second-to-last in the West. The 2014 campaign, like 2016, was saddled with high expectations after the Timbers’ first-place finish in their conference the year before. But a slow start to the season saw them fall just short of a playoff spot, missing out on the sixth and final seed by a single point.
The Timbers would like to break out of their boom-and-bust cycle. Yet for now, they’re focused on moving past the disappointments of 2016 as they start a new season.
“Everyone needed to rest after 34 games in the season,” said Adi. “It was a good offseason, but now that we are back there is just one thing on the plate: we play for trophies, we play to win games as they come. We are going to lose some, but the focus of every game is to come into the game and win.
The Timbers’ leading scorer for the last two seasons, Adi believes it is the players behind him in the formation that could make this season special.
Adi scores to lead Portland to 2-1 road victory at Columbus
Sept. 26, 2015 / MLS Media
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Fanendo Adi bested Kei Kamara in a battle of physical target men as the Portland Timbers earned a 2-1 win over Columbus Crew SC in front of a packed house in Columbus.
Adi’s two goals were enough to best Columbus, who missed multiple chances to equalize after Kamara’s league-leading 22nd goal of the season.
A match that promised to be entertaining delivered in the first half with a back-and-forth affair. Playmakers from both squads had chances early on, as the likes of Kamara, Ethan Fnlay, Diego Valeri, and Darlington Nagbe all created danger in the opening minutes.
Crew SC escaped a very early deficit when a sliding Wil Trapp tackle brought Nagbe down in the Columbus box. Nagbe looked stunned to not hear a whistle, but referee Silviu Petrescu waved play on.
In the 27th minute, Waylon Francis lofted a perfect cross for Kamara, who put an open header over the bar. Just a minute later, Portland capitalized.
With a piece of magic, Nagbe scooped a pass between Crew SC defenders, finding a streaking Adi, who powered a shot past a helpless Steve Clark for the match opener.
The league’s leading scorer had a bit of brilliance of his own, as Kamara pulled Columbus level just before the half with a perfectly placed header into the bottom corner from a corner kick.
The strike gave Kamara 22 goals in 2014, just five away from the league’s all-time mark and four away from the most in Crew SC history. It also raised the amount of MLS clubs he has scored against to 21, as he now has goals against each of the current active teams and the now-defunct Chivas USA.
After halftime, during which Columbus celebrated the unveiling of the top moments in club history with celebrity guests like Brian McBride and Brad Freidel, Portland wasted little time regaining the lead.
As fullback Harrison Afful streaked down, a Portland break isolated Michael Parkhurst on Rodney Wallace. The center back couldn’t keep up, and the winger slid a cross to Adi, who calmly placed the point-blank shot in the opposite corner in the 50th minute for the winner.
Crew SC looked to have equalized in the 64th minute through Ethan Finlay, but the goal was disallowed much to the frustration and anger of the hosts.
The much-needed three points for the Timbers (12-10-8) buoyed the club’s playoff chances, bringing them to 44 points on the season, four ahead of seventh-placed San Jose. They next host Sporting Kansas City on Oct. 3.