portland soccer

Timbers rebound in big way

Portland overwhelms LA Galaxy 5-2 to end skid
Staff Report

The Portland Timbers washed away two weeks of struggles in just 30 minutes Wednesday night, scoring three times on the way to a 5-2 win over the LA Galaxy at Providence Park that secured a playoff spot.

Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored in the sixth and 19th minute and Diego Valeri sent home a penalty kick in the 30th minute for a 3-0 lead that helped the cause of erasing the memory of two consecutive late-game goals that turned wins into draws tucked behind a 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake.

Portland improved to 10-5-5 for 35 points in the Western Conference standings, tied for second with Seattle with three games left in the regular season.

The scoring outburst was in line with what the team did at the start of the month, destroying the Galaxy 6-3 on the road directly before a 3-0 win over San Jose. It moved the Timbers to the top of the league in scoring, tied a 44 with LAFC.

Portland's 1-all tie with LAFC, Oct. 18, followed by a 1-all draw with Seattle Thursday both came about from opponent goals in extra time at the close of the match. 

Eryk Williamson and Andy Polo added second-half goals for the Timbers.

Cristian Pavon scored both goals for the Galaxy, which remained at the bottom of the West at 5-11-3, 18 points. The team is likely to miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.

The Timbers return to action at home Sunday against Vancouver at 7 p.m.



COVID-19 finally strikes Timbers schedule

Saturday's match with Colorado gets postponed due to Rapids outbreak
Staff Report

The MLS game between the Colorado Rapids and the Portland Timbers has been postponed after the Rapids confirmed two more players and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

"Major League Soccer today announced that the match between the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers, scheduled for Saturday at Providence Park, has been postponed after two additional Colorado Rapids players and one additional staff member have confirmed cases of COVID-19," a league statement said.

"For the health and safety of all players and staff, Major League Soccer postponed the match until Nov. 4 at 10 p.m. ET.

"Following the first confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on Sept. 24, the Colorado Rapids closed their training facility and have not trained since. All players and staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have entered self-isolation and the players and staff that have continued to receive negative results have remained in self-quarantine while following MLS health and safety protocols."

The Rapids suspended training late last week when a first round of positive tests came through that included one player and three staff, and placed them in self-isolation. MLS then took the step of postponing the Rapids match on Sunday. A source added that the Rapids had hoped to return to training by Friday.

The postponement on Saturday's Colorado-Portland match is the second since MLS teams began playing games in home markets following the MLS is Back Tournament, which concluded on Aug. 11. At that tournament, which was held inside a bubble in Orlando, both FC Dallas and Nashville SC were forced to pull out due to a cluster of confirmed positive tests.

Since then, there had been less than a handful of confirmed positive tests. The Chicago Fire announced on Aug. 21 that one of its players had a confirmed positive test. More recently, FC Cincinnati said on Saturday that one of its players had a confirmed positive test.


Finally, the Portland Timbers put their offense and defense together at the same time - and historic fashion.

Despite having just 38 percent of possessions Saturday night, the Timbers scored a franchise record six goals and thwarted host San Jose time and again on the way to a 6-1 win in MLS action.

Diego Valeri scored twice and had an assist as the team topped its previous high late in the match.

Portland's win moved it into a tie for fourth in the Western Conference standings with two matches remaining, both at home.

"It was a wonderful match, regardless of the score," Portland coach Gio Savarese told media via virtual contact.

Portland improved to 5-4-3 for 18 points, while San Jose fell to 2-5-5, 11 points. The Earthquakes, who trailed just 2-1 at halftime, were 10 days removed from a 7-1 shellacking in Seattle.

In between San Jose's two defensive blowouts, the team scored a pair of draws, including 1-1 against Portland Wednesday. A number of changes in the starting rotation by both teams saw a seesaw match until Valeri broke the tie in the 25th minute with a penatly-kick goal after a handball was called. Moments later, Jeremy Ebobise headed home a long pass from Jorge Villafana to double the lead. 

San Jose answered in the 44th minute with a Carlos Fierro score and put consistent pressure on Timbers goalie Aljaz Ivacic, but he made a number of highlight-reel saves to keep the Earthquakes at bay. Starting his first match for Portland, Ivacic recorded three saves.

Valeri scored again in the 57th minute on an assist from Diego Charra and the route was on after San Jose responded with four substitutions - all offensive-minded players for defensive players. The Timbers got goals from Yimmi Chara, Julio Cascante and Jaroslaw Niezgoa in the remaining time to surpass its previous MLS high of five goals scored against Minnesota to open the 2017 season.

Portland plays host to Seattle Wednesday, and Vancouver Sunday. The Sounders lead the Western Conference with 21 points, while the Whitecaps won for the third time in four matches with a 2-1 decision at Real Salt Lake Saturday and moved into a tie for seventh place, with the top eight teams reaching the playoffs.

The Timbers edged Seattle 2-1 on Sept. 6 in Seattle two weeks after losing 3-0 at home. They have not played Vancouver this season.



Sept. 16, 2020

In the long-term view, the Portland Timbers only have to qualify for the MLS playoffs to be a contender for the 2020 league tournament.

In the short-term view, though, the frustration from recent results leaves plenty of hardcore fans to wonder how the team will be competitive for any playoff results, especially after such a strong performance at the league’s MLS is Back tournament in August.

Portland struggled to a 1-1 draw with host San Jose Wednesday, earning one point in the Western Conference standings to remain tied for fifth with both Los Angeles clubs needing only to finish eighth to reach the playoffs.

The draw, however, came only a week after the Earthquakes lost 7-1 to Seattle, and days after the team failed to score against the LA Galaxy - in a 0-0 draw. San Jose has allowed three or more goals in three of its five games since the league returned to regular-season play. 

Yimmi Chara scored his first goal of the season off a feed from brother Diego to put Portland up 1-0 in the 33rd minute, but San Jose tied the match with a score by Vako off a feed from Chris Wondolowski.

San Jose dominated possession (63-37 percent) and shots (19-6), causing goalkeeper Steve Clark to make five assists, including a dazzing one in the final minutes. Most of San Jose’s possessions (75 percent) were spent in the Timbers side of the field.

The draw improved the Timbers to 1-3-2 since its return, but continued a familiar pattern of game-play where they create a lead, but cannot hold it. Portland has scored first in four of its six matches, including Wednesday’s match, but managed a win in just one. Those stats include giving up two goals in extra time in a 4-4 draw with Real Salt Lake two weeks ago.

Portland (15 points) plays at San Jose again Saturday with its final two matches at home against Seattle and Vancouver.

San Jose (12) and Vancouver (11) occupy the bottom two spots in the Western Conference standings.

Houston and RSL are tied for eighth at 14 points, with Colorado at 13.


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 not in a hurry to panic

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:20am
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After a lively practice performed in front of more than a dozen local media members, Portland Timbers coach Caleb Porter had a resilient response to the undertone of the ensuing question-and-answer session that resonated around the teams’ first three games - all draws.

The undertone? Is he starting to get frustrated/worried about the Western Conference standings and the points his team is missing out on by not winning at least one of the games, two of which it clearly outplayed the opponent.

The answer? Not at all.

“We’ve got three points, and that’s more points than we had after three games than we had two years ago when we won the West,” Porter said referring to his first season as coach when the Timbers finished atop the conference standings. “The points will come. We just have to stay consistent in what we’re doing because we’re playing well.”

Portland won the conference title in Porter’s first season after moving up from the University of Akron. The team attacked the goal constantly and it turned into 57 points. Last season, the speed of play seemed to slow down just a tad other than a regular late blast and it turned into 49 points.

But, those 49 points were one shy of Vancouver for the fifth and final playoff spot.

So, naturally there’s regular conversation from every group of team supporters about those points left on the field and not being put on the standings.

Porter pointed to the length of the season - 29 more games - and the fact the Timbers have given up just two goals.

What’s frustrating to watch is how well the team plays and the results that it doesn’t turn into. In their season opener, for example, Portland scored an amazing 11-0 edge in corner kicks against Real Salt Lake. The game, though, ended 0-0.

The Timbers went up by a goal twice the following week against Los Angeles only to have the Galaxy even the score for a 2-2 draw. Saturday, an evenly-played match ended 0-0 at Kansas City.

This week the team travels to Vancouver, B.C. for the first of their matches with their Cascadia Cup rivals.

Portland actually has some good history on its side in looking at its record. Not only do the Timbers have three points, but they’ve got two shutouts. Under Porter, the Timbers have finished seasons impressively. Not only did they win the West in 2013, they finished third in the league in goals scored, and first in goal differential - 21. They led the league in draws as well as had a league-low in losses with just five.

Last season, Portland finished third in goals scored and second in draws. In his third season, Porter is 26-14-31.

Three points after three games is actually a good start to a season, but that’s equal to one win and two losses. That’s maybe the most frustrating part for fans, deciding if one win - to get that sense of victory - coupled with two losses is better than not losing at all. It goes against the drama of sports, which the Wide World of Sports highlighted in the ‘70s with the tagline “Thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.”

Draws work well in that they keep a team moving forward in the point totals, but they get on a supporters’ nerves after awhile. So, hopefully, this week the Timbers will get off that train of single points, and either win or lose.

After three no-decisions, even a loss might help fans feel more comfortable with the team this season.

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