diego valeri timbers

Timbers rebound with defense

An early score leads to 1-0 win over Nashville
Staff Report

Completely different game, completely different result - that's what the Portland Timbers gave their fans Sunday at Providence Park.

A week after dominating possession against Minnesota in a 3-1 loss to open the Major League Soccer season, the Timbers got an early goal and essentially played defense for three-fourths of the match. But, it ended 1-0 in favor of the home team against expansion Nashville.

Diego Valeri scored a highlight-reel goal in the 12th minute and the Timbers held Nashville to just four shots on goal, sending the visitors to their second loss in as many games.

Portland managed just two shots on goal and finished with no corner kicks, while Nashville had nine. The opener featured just two corner kicks for the host team.

The Timbers had a 57-43 edge in possession in their opener, but trailed 52-48 against Nashville.

Portland was charged with three yellow cards, including midfielder Diego Chara, who will miss Sunday's game at New England due to also picking one up against Minnesota.

And, yet, the win was the important part, moving the team to seventh in the 13-team Western Conference.

"Sometimes these games are not pretty," Portland coach Giovanni Savarese told media afterward. "The important thing for us was to make sure that we got a win to get three points."

Valeri's goal came after the visitors were unable to clear possession farther than the edge of the 18-yard box and Andy Polo found Portland's top scorer and he fired a shot from the left side to the top right of the goal for his second score of the season.

"I was so happy about it," Valeri told media. "You always want to see the ball in the net."

Valeri, with a penalty kick in the opener, has both of Portland's scores this season.

New England is 0-1-1, one point.



Timbers scuttled again on road

Portland loses Valeri to injury in 1-0 loss at Toronto
May 23, 2015

TORONTO – It was the Sebastian Giovinco show at BMO Field as Toronto FC picked up their first home victory of the season, a 1-0 result painted by a brushstroke from the foot of the Atomic Ant.

A goal scored by Giovinco in the fifth minute proved the difference between the two sides as the Italian forward enjoyed a productive day in tandem with Luke Moore, constantly zipping around the front line and always threatening with an ankle-breaking flick or a ferocious shot on goal.

And It didn’t take Giovinco very long to find the back of the net. He struck with an outside-the-foot strike that curved and dipped perfectly, past the outstretched fingers of Portland goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey, giving Toronto a lead early in the half. After the goal, Giovinco continued to torment the Portland back line, nearly scoring on two occasions, one blocked by his own teammate, Jonathan Osorio.

Moore also had a half-volley chance that threatened. And while Portland (3--5-4, 13 points) did manage to get the ball into the box a couple of times, the Timbers rarely threatened in the first 45 minutes. It didn’t help that playmaker Diego Valeri went down with injury in the 25th minute, and had to be replaced by Gaston Fernandez.

The two teams went into the locker rooms with Toronto holding a slight edge and looking hungry for more, but Portland began to be more effective in attack in the second half.

For their part, Toronto (4-5-1, 13 points) made a change in personnel, with Jackson coming in for Moore to provide more width. But it was Toronto’s other substitute that nearly found the back of the net. Warren Creavalle ran down the left wing at the 80-minute mark and forced a big save out of Kwarasey.

Seconds later, TFC goalkeeper Chris Konopka made an error in judgement coming off his line, bringing down Timbers forward Maximiliano Urruti in the box, but no penalty was called. A few minutes later, Urruti nearly pounced on a rebound from a long-distance drive by Dairon Asprilla.

TFC head coach then Greg Vanney made his final change, putting defender Nick Hagglund in for Osorio in an effort to see out the game with roughly 10 minutes to go. Despite Portland’s pressing and creating dangerous opportunities around the box, Toronto held on with a firm defense.

Portland plays twice this week, taking on D.C. United Wednesday, and then traveling to Colorado for a game Saturday.

Timbers get the points they need

Portland edges Montreal 2-1 with Valeri netting first goal
May 9, 2015 / Staff Report

MONTREAL - A pair of goals just minutes apart - the second by Diego Valeri - helped the Portland Timbers not only break a lengthy scoreless streak, but beat Montreal 2-1 and earn three valuable points in Major League Soccer action Saturday at Stade Saputo.

Borchers scored in the 64th minute on a header off a free kick, which ended the team’s 254-minute scoreless streak - nearly three games.

Valeri, making just his second start after an injury wiped out the close of his season last year and opening part of this season, collected a pass from Rodney Wallace and curled in a 20-yard shot in the 70th minute.

Montreal scored just a minute later, and appeared to have the equalizer minutes later. But the second goal was taken away due to a penalty that helped the play open up for the goal.

Portland closed out the game allowing only a few long-range chances with the final 10 minutes played in a steady downpour.

The win moved the Timbers to 3-3-4, 13 points, on the season with their nine goals standing as a Western Conference low. Portland kept pace with the conference battle for a playoff spot with five teams at 14 or 13 points.

The Timbers play at Houston May 16, then at Toronto May 23, before returning to Providence Park May 27 for a Wednesday-night match.

Timbers struggle to score again

Portland gets Valeri back, but draws with Vancouver 0-0
May 2, 2015 / Staff Report

PORTLAND – The Portland Timbers did basically everything but score Saturday night, and that played out to a scoreless draw with the rival Vancouver Whitecaps at Providence Park.

Portland held possession for 65 percent of the match, and even earned a penalty kick, but Vancouver’s defense was enough to concede only one actual shot on goal, and the the PK hit the right post midway through the first half.

Portland (2-4-3, 9 points) earned a point with the result, and remained tied for fifth place in the highly-competitive Western Conference. But, the game was a perfect opportunity to take over sole possession of fifth place after nine games. Portland has scored just seven goals this season.

Vancouver (5-2-3, 17 points) remained in a tie with Dallas for first place.

The home crowd was sent into a frenzy upon the return of Argentine playmaker Diego Valeri, who came on as a second-half substitute after missing the first two months of the season while recovering from an ACL injury suffered in the season finale last year.

Neither team found much of a rhythm in the first half, and the Timbers squandered two golden chances to score at the half-hour mark.

First, Vancouver center back Pa Modou Kah was called for a handball in the box in the 29th minute. But Darlington Nagbe pinged the ensuing spot kick off the right post on a right-footed attempt.

Then, three minutes later, a free Maximiliano Urruti met a pinpoint cross from Rodney Wallace in front of goal, but the header attempt was angled just over the bar.

Vancouver’s best chance of the first half came in the very first minute when left back Jordan Harvey made a sneaky run into the box to receive a Mauro Rosales cross for an open shot, but it was dealt with easily by Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.

Valeri’s biggest imprint from his near 40-minute shift came in the 78th minute when he ran onto a Jorge Villafana cross in the box but pushed his sliding shot just wide.

Vancouver, meanwhile, were limited to just seven shots, two on goal. Late attempts by Octavio Rivero, Kekuta Manneh and Gershon Koffie all went begging for more.

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