mls playoffs

Timbers keep playoff streak alive

Portland returns home after 0-0 tie at Houston

Playing their first postseason match of the 2017 campaign, the Portland Timbers battled the Houston Dynamo to a 0-0 draw before 15,169 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs on Monday night.

The Timbers, making their third appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs in the last five seasons, will return to Portland to play host to Houston in the second leg of the two-game, aggregate-goal series at Providence Park on Sunday.

Portland is unbeaten in seven consecutive playoff matches, including the 2015 championship match at Columbus.

Opening up their 2017 postseason campaign after bypassing the Knockout Round as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the Timbers produced nine shots in the match, while holding the Dynamo scoreless on their home field. Attacking early in the game, Portland created a strong chance quickly on the break when forward Darren Mattocks slipped a pass in behind for midfielder Diego Valeri. Sprinting down the left wing, Valeri quickly played a curling pass into the box for an unmarked Darlington Nagbe, whose first-time effort went wide of the far post in the sixth minute of play.

Approaching the midway point of the first half, the Timbers threatened Houston’s goal again in the 20th minute of play when midfielder Dairon Asprilla received the ball on the left side of the 18-yard box, blasting a strong effort that went wide of the target.

The Timbers opened up the final 45 with another strong chance when Valeri and Nagbe combined in the final third, creating space for Valeri to fire an effort from distance and forcing a strong save from Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric in the 50th minute of play. Less than 10 minutes later, shortly after entering the game, forward Jeremy Ebobisse latched on to a pass from Valeri inside the 18-yard box, whipping an effort on target and forcing another save from Deric.

Continuing to create chances in the second half, the Timbers came close to scoring in the 68th minute when defender Vytas drove a pass across the six-yard box, finding defender Liam Ridgewell for a close-range effort that was blocked wide by the Houston defense. Six minutes later, an effective combination play in the middle of the field allowed Valeri to release Mattocks inside the box, with the striker hitting his effort at Deric, who made a strong save to prevent the scoring opportunity.

On the defensive end, goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made two strong saves in the second half, as Portland recorded its fourth shutout in its last seven games played across all competitions. In the 50th minute, with Houston attacking on the counter attack, Attinella made a strong save off his line to deny forward Alberth Elis. Five minutes later, Attinella produced another solid save in the 55th minute when he denied a looping header from defender Philippe Senderos, reacting quickly to push the defender’s chance over the crossbar.

Timbers win 2-1 in playoff opener

Johnson and Nagbe net scores and Portland wins at Seattle
Nov. 2, 2013

Behind goals from Ryan Johnson and Darlington Nagbe, the Portland Timbers took control of their Western Conference semifinal with a  2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday at CenturyLink Field in front of 38,507 fans.

It was the Timbers’ first-ever MLS playoff game.

The series will resume on Thursday at JELD-WEN Field.

The Timbers were able to strike first with a goal that came solidly against the run of play thanks to Johnson’s glancing header in the 15th minute. The Jamaican international was able to lose his mark with a run to the near post and Jack Jewsbury placed an inch-perfect cross between Johnson and Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.

Diego Chará had helped create the opportunity with a weighted ball toward the end line, allowing Jewsbury to run onto it and whip in his cross.

Nagbe netted his goal in the 67th minute off a pass from Kalif Alhassan.

The Sounders scored in the 90th minute, but were unable to earn the game-tying score.

PREVIEW

A playoff run should be full of drama from the opening game, and so it will be for the Portland Timbers.

In the third year of the franchise, the Timbers will play the rival Seattle Sounders in the semifinals of the Western Conference playoffs Saturday at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle qualified for its spot in Saturday's opening game of the home-home series with a 2-0 victory over the visiting Colorado Rapids Wednesday night.

Portland and Seattle went 1-1-1 in their three meetings this season, with the Timbers earning a 1-0 victory Oct. 13 at Jeld-Wen Stadium.

After Saturday's game, the series moves to Portland for a game Nov. 7.

The last time the teams met in Seattle, Aug. 25, the Sounders earned a 1-0 victory before a crowd of 67,385.

Portland heads to its series with Seattle having finished first in the Western Conference standings under first-year coach Caleb Porter.

Seattle has reached the MLS Playoffs in each of its five seasons in the league, but has won just one playoff series - last season. The franchise has performed well in other playoffs, winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title three times and reaching the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals last year.

 

 

 

 

RSS feed