The Timbers traveled north of the border for the first time since June of 2019 and return with all three points after defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 Friday night at BC Place. The victory marks the first time in Timber history three consecutive road clean sheets are obtained.
Entering tonight, Vancouver was just one point behind Portland in the standings and a win at home would have brought them above the playoff line. Nonetheless, the Canadian team who had won four-in-a-row entering tonight was bested by Portland who exit their five-game road trip with 10 points.
The first half was as even as they come: possession split 50-50, each team registering two shots on frame, both teams recording an 86% passing accuracy, and most importantly both teams were held scoreless.
The Whitecaps have scored 23 of their 29 goals this season in the second half and the pace certainly picked up in the final 45. Attacks were more direct and fresh-legged substitutes breathed new life into the game but it was the man who has started nearly every game that made the difference, Felipe Mora.
The Chilean striker who recently made the MLS team of the week took down a beautiful ball from Blanco and hit it well and low to beat keeper Maxime Crepeau. Mora was not credited with the goal because Vancouver defender Ranko Veselinovic attempted to clear it off the line and pierced his own netting during the attempt.
Vancouver was penetrating the Portland penalty box with crosses and deep shots late but Steve Clark and the Timber defenders stood tall. Portland’s newfound defensive identity frustrated Vancouver down the stretch and the Whitecaps were forced to settle for their first MLS loss since July 7th in Salt Lake City.
Next for the Timbers is their first home game in nearly a month facing the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday at 7 PM.