Whitecaps FC suffer road defeat to Portland Timbers in spirited

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(ISN) –  Saturday, September 20, 2014

PORTLAND TIMBERS 3 – VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC 0
Whitecaps FC suffer road defeat to Portland Timbers in spirited Cascadia derby

PORTLAND, OREGON – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-8L-13D) suffered a 3-0 defeat to Portland Timbers (9W-8L-12D) Saturday afternoon in a spirited Cascadia derby at Providence Park.

After a lively start, the ‘Caps went down in the 28th minute courtesy of a well-taken Diego Valeri volley. Timbers striker Fanendo Adi then put the game out of reach with two second-half goals in the span of four minutes to secure the three points.

The result moves Portland into the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference, two-points up on the sixth-place ‘Caps. Both teams have five matches remaining.

Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made four changes to his starting lineup, as well as a switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation, after last weekend’s 2-1 loss to FC Dallas. Steven Beitashour, Andy O’Brien, Pedro Morales, and Erik Hurtado each drew back into the lineup, forming the same group that started last week’s midweek win over San Jose.

Temperatures climbed above 30 degrees Celsius Saturday afternoon at Providence Park, but that didn’t affect the tempo early on. Both sides came out on the front foot, which made for some entertaining, back-and-forth action.

There was no shortage of energy in the game from the opening whistle. Sebastian Fernandez, who saw a lot of the ball early, had a crack from about 25 yards less than a minute in. Shortly later, the Uruguayan nearly sprung Hurtado with a long ball over the top.

Then, in the 12th minute, Vancouver came close again when Jordan Harvey sent in a low cross that just eluded a sliding Fernandez. It was a bright start from the visiting ‘Caps, but the Timbers struck first.

In the 28th minute, Valeri got on the end of a Jorge Villafana cross in the centre of the box and blasted it into the top corner with a spectacular left-footed volley to put Portland ahead.

From there, the Timbers started to slow things down with their possession game. They had another opportunity in the 38th minute, but Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted came up with a big save on an Alvas Powell effort from close range.

The pace slowed considerably in the latter stages of the first half and that continued after the break.

Neither side really had a sniff at goal before the hour-mark, though there were appeals for a penalty in the 54th minute when Diego Chara tackled Fernandez in the box.

The Timbers had the first real chance of the half in the 64th minute, as Darlington Nagbe found some space in the box before seeing his right-footed strike stopped by Ousted.

Portland managed to extend their lead just a few minutes later, when Adi broke in on the counter and slotted it in past a sliding Ousted. The Nigerian striker added his second in the 69th minute, which all but put the game out of reach.

Saturday’s result moves Portland into a tie with Whitecaps FC for second place in the Cascadia Cup standings with seven points – one point back of Seattle. The ‘Caps will meet Sounders FC on October 10 in the final Cascadia match of the season. The Blue and White will be crowned champions with a victory, while any other result would see Seattle lift the trophy.

Meanwhile, the ‘Caps continue their push for the playoffs next Saturday, September 27, when they host Real Salt Lake at BC Place. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. PT.

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