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.

All the Timbers need to win is an Army

Portland's home field edge comes through Tuesday in 2-1 win
July 3, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

In just a season-and-a-half, Jeld-Wen Field has quickly become the place where the top of MLS heap is cut down to size.

Tuesday night marked the fourth time in the club’s MLS history that the Portland Timbers took on the MLS leader at Jeld-Wen Field. And for the fourth straight time, it was the home fans who went home happy as Portland knocked off the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 in front of another sellout crowd.

In his first start in Portland since being traded to the Timbers, former Jefferson High School star Danny Mwanga gave the Timbers the lead in the 29th minute on a marvelous counterattack. It took just 12 seconds for Franck Songo’o to steal the ball from San Jose’s Rafael Baca on the edge of the Timbers penalty area, have a give-and-go with Eric Alexander and then pass the ball to a cutting Mwanga.

The goal came directly in front of the Timbers Army and sent the crowd into a bedlam. Coming off their worst loss of the season, Mwanga’s goal seemed to give an extra boost of energy to the Timbers.

For the 9th time in 2012, San Jose conceded the opening goal. But that might have been a good omen for the club, due to their 4-2-3 mark in those games. The comeback kids could not match the Timbers in front of their home fans.

Jack Jewsbury’s first goal of the season gave the club a 2-0 just before the 60-minute mark. Former Timber Alan Gordon got one back for the Quakes in the 74th minute but they were unable to get a shot on target after the goal.

Despite playing their worst game of the season just 72 hours earlier, the crowd was as loud as ever. Something that was not lost on head coach John Spencer.

“I think it’s easy to get up for games here. The passion and the energy in this stadium was tremendous. Felt it from the first whistle,” Spencer said postmatch.

The game was the 26th the Timbers have played at Jeld-Wen since their ascent to the MLS. Tuesday’s victory runs Portland’s record in those games to 14-7-5. Jewsbury says the fans play a direct part in the Timbers home success.

“With the fans and the energy they create, it makes it a bit easier for us and in that sense its great to play here, “ said Jewsbury, who scored for the first time in his last 25 games Tuesday.

But the Timbers know that their home dominance will mean little without getting results on the road. Portland has just two points from their seven road matches this season.
“Now, it’s a matter of us creating the same amount of energy for ourselves when we don’t have the fans there on the road,” Jewsbury said.

John Spencer, however, had a different idea on how to replicate the Jeld-Wen atmosphere for Saturday’s game at Real Salt Lake. When asked how the Timbers can play with the same fire this weekend in Utah, Spencer put his owner Merritt Paulson on the hook.

“I think our owner has planned to send 15,000 people, free of charge to Salt Lake next Saturday,” Spencer said, with a wry smile on his face.
The victory kept one of the more unusual streaks alive for Portland. The Timbers move to 4-0-1 in their last five home games playing under a full moon extending back to the USL era. Portland will play one more game at Jeld-Wen under a full moon this season on August 31 against the Colorado Rapids.

Full Moon or not, it is getting harder to deny what a homefield advantage Jeld-Wen Field has become.

Another No. 1 bites the dust

Timbers beat another top-ranked team, this time San Jose, 2-1
July 3, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

For the second time this season, the Portland Timbers showed off they can play with the best teams in the league - at home, and beat San Jose 2-1 Tuesday night at Jeld-Wen Field.

Danny Mwanga, brought in for his scoring just a month ago, and Jack Jewsbury, moved from midfield to the backline earlier in the year, both scored to highlight a dazzling effort from a team that got pounded at Colorado just three days earlier.

The win gave Portland (5-7-4, 19 points) three much-need points in the Western Conference against a San Jose team (11-4-3, 36 points) ranked No. 1 in the MLS Power Rankings and coming off a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy played before more than 50,000 fans.

"They're the hottest team in the league, so this is a great win for us," Portland coach John Spencer said. "Playing at home, in this environment puts so much energy in our guys. It really makes a huge difference in our play."

Portland beat Sporting Kansas City 1-0 on April 21 when KC entered No. 1 and the Timbers had just lost 3-1 at Los Angeles to fall to 1-4-1.

Most observers expected the Timbers to lose Tuesday night, especially after Saturday's loss that dropped the team from No. 16 to 18 in the league rankings, ahead of only FC Dallas.

"We knew coming in that we had some things to prove, and we needed to show that on the field," Jewsbury said. "It feels great to have played the way we played and got a win over such a strong team."

Next up, Portland plays at Real Salt Lake, which is second in the Western Conference standings at 10-6-2, 32 points, and ranked No. 4.

Mwanga, acquired in a trade with Philadelphia, scored off an assist by Frank Songo'o in the 29th minute, ending a scoreless streak of more than a year for the former Jefferson High and Oregon State standout.

Jewsbury added a score in the 59 minute, finishing a wild play in front of the San Jose goal that started off a Portland free kick.

San Jose got a score from Alan Gordon in the 74th minutes, but could not get another quality shot toward Portland keeper Troy Perkins.

The Timbers improved to 5-2-2 at home, where they've scored 14 of their 16 total goals this season.

Another must-win greets Timbers, fans

Portland gets a visit from league-leading San Jose Tuesday
July 1, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Don't call it a comeback, unless there is a comeback - which is where the Portland Timbers seem to be again with their season.

Following a disastrous, 3-0 loss at Colorado, Portland returns to the friendly confines of Jeld-Wen Field to face San Jose Tuesday night, with San Jose entering the stadium as the top team in Major League Soccer.

Portland is 4-7-4, 16 points, and has scored 14 goals this season. San Jose is 11-3-3, 36 points, has scored 35 goals, and is coming off a 4-3 win over the LA Galaxy that's being touted as one of the league's best-ever matches.

Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Portland has faced a must-win scenario before, and performed beautifully. On April 21, the Timbers played host to Kansas City, then ranked No. 1 in the league, just a week after a disastrous 3-1 loss at Los Angeles and won 1-0 - only their second win of the season at the time.

Then, on June 24, Portland hammered Seattle 2-1, a week after an uninspiring 1-0 loss at Los Angeles.

At 16 points, the Timbers are eighth in the Western Conference, ahead of just FC Dallas. But, they're just three points behind Chivas USA and six points behind fifth-place Colorado, and have a game in hand over every team in the West.

And, Portland is 4-2-2 at home and enters the game at 2-1-2 in its last five contests. San Jose is 4-1-0 over the same span.


Timbers back on track as a team

Five cards should get the attention of opponents when attacking Portland
June 24, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

When Fredy Montero shoved David Horst near the end of the Timbers 2-1 victory over Cascadia Cup rival Seattle, there was little doubt that the game had reached its boiling point. But, it was the reaction of Horst’s teammates that said more about the Timbers current attitude than any goal could.

Within seconds, Horst’s teammates surrounded Montero and Eddie Johnson. By the time Kris Boyd stuck his finger in Montero’s face it was clear. The players on the 2012 Portland Timbers have each other’s backs.

Sunday’s victory might be the defining moment of the season, but it was certainly the game where Portland showed its determination, camaraderie and character. Captain Jack Jewsbury summed up how the team feels about one another after the match.

“(In) this locker room, everyone’s got each other’s back,” said Jewsbury post-match.

The Timbers came out firing out of the chute with two goals in the first 25 minutes of play. Boyd coolly finished a Steven Smith pass in the 16th minute, while Horst scored his first MLS goal off a header nine minutes later.

A superb Eddie Johnson goal gave the Sounders life, but the Timbers were able to hold on and provide a much needed win for the club. Spencer was impressed with his team’s desire to perform against Seattle.

“Everybody was fully committed to the uniform,” said Spencer, who is now 3-1-2 in Cascadia Cup matches.

For the Timber player who has been with the club the longest, it was a win four years in the making. At the end of the match, Futty Danso collapsed to the ground in celebration of his first victory against Seattle.

“This game means a lot to the city, a lot to the fans,” said Futty Danso, who signed with the club in April 2009.

Danso also talked specifically how much this game means to the Timbers Army.

“If they could pick one game to win, they’d pick this one,” Danso said.

While Spencer, Boyd and Smith have all played in the famous Old Firm rivalry in Scotland, there is still something special in playing in the United States longest running soccer rivalry.

“These are the games you want to play in as a player,” said Smith, who had first MLS assist on Boyd’s goal.

In the weeks following the Timbers 1-0 loss to amateur side Cal FC, a lot has been made of both the Timbers effort and quality. The Timbers displayed both Sunday.

Kalif Alhassan and Franck Songo’o both displayed incredible footwork, whether along the sidelines or 18 yards from goal. Diego Chara was his usual self, making long runs forward on counter attacks and patrolling the middle whenever Osvaldo Alonso was on the ball. Chara finished the game with 36 successful passes to just three unsuccessful.

It had been a long time since the Timbers had last defeated their rivals to the North - 1,520 days to be exact. However, sometimes the waiting makes the winning that much more satisfying.

For Horst, the satisfaction might come with splinters because Horst said he will be sleeping with his log slice tonight. For the rest of the Timbers players, organization and fans, the dreams will be of how much satisfaction comes in beating your rival.



Follow Mike Donovan on Twitter @themikedonovan and Tuesdays on No Pity City on oregonsports.com.

Timbers pull off a stunner at Jeld-Wen

After a month of disappointment, Portland beats Seattle 2-1
June 24, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

In another must-win game at home against an imposing foe, the Portland Timbers pulled off an unforseen 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders in an MLS match Sunday at Jeld-Wen Field.

Having lost to an amatuer team in U.S. Open Cup play three weeks ago, and then to the LA Galaxy last week to fall into last place in the Western Conference, the Timbers outhustled their Cascadia Cup rivals from Washington through the opening 45 minutes, which ended with a 2-0 lead, then survived a foul-plagued second half.

Kris Boyd scored his fifth goal on the season and David Horst scored his first goals as the Timbers improved to 4-6-4, 16 points, with all four wins coming on their home turf.

"It was a tremendous performance, especially in the first half," Portland coach John Spencer said. "I'm very happy with the win and the three points."

Seattle, which got a goal from Eddie Johnson, dropped to 7-5-4, 25 points, and remained without a win in league play since May 9.

Portland plays at Colorado, 6-8-1, 19 points, Saturday. The Timbers moved out of last place in the West with the win.

The Timbers fell into last place primarily because other teams passed them, namely the defending league champion Galaxy. Portland, once rated No. 18 of the league's 19 teams, had seemed to have its season back on a positive track after going 2-1-3 beginning with a 1-0 win over league-leading Kansas City, April 21, at Jeld-Wen - the first of its must-win games.

But, after a 1-1 draw with Vancouver, May26, the Timbers fell 1-0 to Cal FC, an amatuer club, in U.S. Open play - at home - and then struggled mightily at Los Angeles last week, causing plenty of commentary all week about the level of effort from players in support of their coach. They took care of those comments from the opening kick, simply outhustling the Sounders across the field for 45 minutes.

"It's part of playing for a club that expects results," said Boyd, who came to Portland prior to the seaosn as the all-time leading scorer in Scotland's Premier League. "I've been in that environment my whole career and it's no different here.

"We definitely didn't want to be isolated at the bottom of the league, so we needed the three points and needed to put forth the effort to make that happen."

Portland took the lead in the Cascadia Cup standings with the win with four points, which leads the Souders and Whitecaps by two points.

The teams combined to make Sunday's game entertaining from the outset with Seattle firing off 15 shots, while Portland had 13. Of the 28 shots, 17 were from inside the penalty box.

Both teams had a player sent off in extra time at the end of the second half. Fredy Montero of Seattle, then Lovel Palmer of Portland were sent off by referee Ricardo Salazar for fighting.

Seattle, which won five straight games earlier and led the Western Conference on May 19, has not scored twice in a game since the 2-all tie with Vancouver, May 19. In their last seven games, the Sounders are 0-4-3.

"Seattle can talk a good game, like anyone, but they're in the a pretty tough situation," Boyd said. "They haven't won in six or seven games.

"It feels good to win a big game like this, but it's over and now we have to look forward to preparing for Colorado."


Mwanga's skillset seems fit for Portland

A native son returns to the Rose City and its hungry fans
June 6, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

On Wednesday, an adopted son returned home when the Portland Timbers acquired Danny Mwanga from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for Jorge Perlaza.

Mwanga first arrived in Portland as a 15-year-old with refugee status after leaving the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mwanga now returns to Portland after a two-and-a-half year stint with the Union. After being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2010 draft by the expansion Union, Mwanga has seen his share of ups-and-downs on the pitch. A successful rookie campaign led to a roller coaster sophomore season. His 2012 season has been marred with few games and even fewer scoring chances for the one of the MLS’s worst clubs.

The trade might give the 20-year old the boost he needs to fulfill his potential as one of the best players in the MLS.

One thing is certain when you watch Mwanga play. The Jefferson High grad has the talent to be successful at the top level of soccer. His highlight reel is filled with backheel assists, dribbles that leave defenders in their wake, and shots that see the back of the net before goalkeepers know what happened.

If the Timbers can get Mwanga and Darlington Nagbe to become consistent players, they will have two of the most highly skilled attacking footballers in the MLS.

Mwanga seems to be able to hold off defenders with his back to the goal and is able to beat them with speed on counter attacks. The majority of his career goals have come while playing off another center forward and Mwanga seems more comfortable at the top of the 18-yard box than trying to poach inside it.

His habit of staying away from frame means he might be the perfect pairing for Timbers striker Kris Boyd, who is comfortable playing near the goalmouth.

The question will be if the Timbers have the quality to get Mwanga the ball in the attacking half. Mwanga has struggled in his last 20 games - one of the main reasons being his inability to develop a rapport with the Union midfielders. While Diego Chara’s passing numbers are outstanding, making attacking passes through the middle of the pitch has been a major Timbers weakness in 2012.

Video study reveals that Mwanga is at his best when the attack comes on the ground through the center of the field. Portland’s offensive gameplans usually revolve attacking the outside-in with numerous crosses. This might not mesh with a player who has never scored a goal on a header.

Despite his 6-foot-2 inch frame, Mwanga does damage with his feet not with an aerial game. While flick-on headers are part of Mwanga’s arsenal, the Timbers would be foolish to rely on Mwanga as a presence in the air on set pieces.

The man Mwanga is replacing, Jorge Perlaza, had certain strengths, that the Timbers will need to replace. Perlaza ran down long balls from defenders better than any Timber has in their time in the MLS. Mwanga has the burst to track down long balls and the one-touch finishing ability once he gets the space. However, Mwanga might not be able to match the durability of Perlaza late in matches. For all his faults, Perlaza always provided energy at the top for the Timbers.

Mwanga will likely get playing time right away for the Timbers, as they are searching for someone who can pair well with Boyd. The former Oregon State Beaver certainly has the skill, but will he be able to produce like a No. 1 overall pick should? If he does, Portland’s adopted son might be able to help lead the Timbers to the postseason.

Californians put Biblical touch into Timbers match

Cal FC's 1-0 win has Portland fans looking everywhere for answers to "how?"
May 30, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

After David used a slingshot to defeat Goliath, he proceeded to sever Goliath’s head to prove that he had defeated the Champion of the Philistines. While Eric Wynalda will not return to California with any Timbers heads, he will return with the knowledge that his team had pulled off the greatest upset in the 99-year history of the US Open Cup.

In sports, it is no fun to be the Goliath. David gets the glory, while the Goliath is conquered and cast as a loser for all eternity. Some fans of Goliath might flee as the Philistines did, but many more will shake their heads in shame and rue the day the Portland Timbers lost to a bunch of amateurs.

When the final whistle blew Wednesday night at Jeld-Wen Field, Cal FC were the victors. Cal FC, an amateur team that plays its soccer in the Gran Liga de Oxnard, came into the match as massive underdogs, only to leave Soccer City, USA in mourning.

Despite only practicing at most once a week, the pay-to-play side was able to defeat an MLS side that started its best available 11 players. Those 11 starters will be paid a combined 2.86 million dollars for the 2012 season. Cal FC, on the other hand, had to buy its jerseys from Nike before the match.

When Artur Aghasyan scored the winner in overtime, it was the first goal ever scored by an USASA (United States Adult Soccer Association) side against an MLS club in a tournament competition. At the highest level of the USASA, there are at least 175 leagues around country, in which 1000s of teams compete. Considering Cal FC is currently ninth in their league, it means that Cal FC would currently be ranked behind at least 500 other amateur teams in the fifth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid.

And while the players from the Thousand Oaks club will have positive stories to share for a lifetime, it is a different tale for the players, coaches, management, and fans of the Portland Timbers. There might be a time when the loss in the US Open Cup is seen as a bump on the road on the way to great successes. However, any successes seem like an impossible climb for a franchise that has never won a national playoffs or tournament of any kind.

The Timbers have played in many divisions, conferences, and leagues since their inaugural 1975 season, however their losing effort in the ‘75 Soccer Bowl remains the lone league or cup championship game the team has ever been to. Despite the lack of trophies, the Timbers found themselves in an unusual position on Wednesday night. That of an overwhelming favorite.

How the team reacts to its historic loss will set the tone for the team in just its second MLS season. If the Timbers are unable to make the MLS playoffs, the loss will become the defining moment of 2012 regardless of anything else the club does.

The site of amateurs celebrating in front of a defeated Timbers side, will be an image that will be engrained on the minds of the 5,000 in attendance as a humiliating reminder of how far the team has sunk. That image will linger until Portland is able to win a meaningful game in front of the home crowd.

Moral victories will no longer be attainable for the club that has played just 46 league matches in the MLS. The stench of Wednesday’s loss will only be cleansed after the Timbers deliver a winner to a trophy-starved fanbase.

On Wednesday, Jeld-Wen Field became the Valley of Elah of American soccer. Over the course of the upcoming days, months, and years, the Timbers will try to claw their ways out of the Valley and reach the mountaintop.

The Portland Timbers organization will always have the scar to remind them of what happened at the feet of Cal FC. The question is, will this scar fade over time or remain for years to come?


Late goal doesn't phase Spencer

Portland struggles again in the late going, but keeps up strong play
May 27, 2012, By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

For the Timbers in 2012, the final 15 minutes have been a horror show in many ways. Saturday night was no different, as Portland gave up a goal after the 75th minute of a match for the eighth time in their 12 matches.

And despite not holding onto a win against the rival Vancouver Whitecaps, John Spencer seemed neither worried or upset about failing to hold onto a late lead.

“For me, its not a massive problem,” said Spencer about the Timbers continually giving up late goals.

Spencer wasn’t the only one, who didn’t seemed to be worried about the late goal.

"They didn't have much tonight, and that one goal was just a matter of the ball bouncing the wrong way," Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury said. "I don't think it's anything but just a bad bounce.”

When asked if he was disappointed with the match, Spencer told the media that he was “disappointed in 1 person only.”

That one person was referee Jorge Gonzalez. And while Spencer was careful never to mention his name, he referred to him on multiple occasions during his post-game press conference. The point of contention occurred in the 65th minute when Kalif Alhassan was felled by Jay DeMerit. Spencer didn’t mince words regarding the play.

“(I’m) absolutely astonished we didn’t get a penalty kick,” Spencer said.   

The Timbers started the match with an attacking lineup that saw the return of Eric Alexander and Kalif Alhassan to the starting lineup. Darlington Nagbe was also moved to attacking center midfield, where he played in his two-goal effort against Real Salt Lake. Spencer was happy with the style of play the new-look Timbers exhibited against their Cascadia Cup foes.

“Some of the best football we’ve played all year,” said Spencer, who didn’t think much of the Whitecaps style in the match. “They came to play for a tie and they got a tie.”

A Kris Boyd goal in the 67th minute put the Timbers ahead. Alhassan’s great defensive effort won the ball for the Timbers, who then slotted the ball to Jewsbury. Jewsbury’s cross was tipped by Vancouver’s Joe Cannon before falling to Boyd, who kicked it into the net.

Boyd’s goal did not hold up, however, as Vancouver’s Darron Mattocks scored his first career MLS goal in the 84th minute. Eric Hassli boxed out Hanyer Mosquera and was able to head the ball towards Mattocks, who deftly chested the ball to himself, before blasting over Troy Perkins.

Halftime saw a 25-minute delay as lightning swept across the Rose City. The final ten minutes of the first half were played in a downpour of rain and hail to go along with swirling winds. Despite the delay, the 25 minutes following halftime saw a Timbers side dominate the run of play.

Despite a three-week league lay-off, Spencer is taking Wednesday’s US Open Cup seriously.

“We’re going to try and win the US Open Cup,” adding that the Timbers do not have a break due to the Cup.

Portland will host Cal FC on Wednesday at Jeld-Wen Field in the third round of the US Open Cup. A win Wednesday could set up a match with three-time defending US Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders.

Tune in Tuesday night at 8:30 PM for No Pity City, live on oregonsports.com and UStream. Also check out oregonsports.com and twitter.com/theMikeDonovan for continuing Timbers coverage.


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One point never hurt so good

Portland ties Vancouver, but misses a big opportunity
May 26, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

A month ago, a tie with Vancouver might have seemed like a favorable outcome for the Portland Timbers, but it wasn't Saturday night.

The Timbers scored on the field for the second-straight game, but gave up a goal in the final six minutes and settled for a draw before 20,438 fans at Jeld-Wen Field.

Kris Boyd scored his team-leading fourth goal of the year in the 67th minute to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead, and Jorge Perlaza appeared to have drawn a foul in the penalty box a short time later, but there was no call and Vancouver survived and achieved its fourth draw of the season.

"This is a very frustrating outcome because I feel like we were the better team," Portland coach John Spencer said.

Portland scored a draw for the fourth time this season, which finished its first month in Major League Soccer without a loss. Portland is 3-5-4, 13 points, and is 1-0-3 in its last four games. The Timbers have scored just three goals in that span, but solid defense has not only moved the team from last place in the Western Conference, but into a tie for seventh after FC Dallas lost to Real Salt Lake Saturday.

Vancouver is fourth at 5-3-4, 19 points.

The match was the first for Portland int he Cascadia Cup, the annual competition run by fans in Portland, Vancouver and Seattle. Vancouver tied Seattle 2-all last week. The Timbers have three weeks off from MLS games before playing at Los Angeles, June 17, and then plays host to Seattle, June 24.



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