‘Caps see three-match winning streak halt in another wild Cascadia affair in Portland
PORTLAND, OREGON – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-6L-2D) saw their three-match winning streak come to a halt as Portland Timbers (4W-6L-3D) capitalized on a pair of penalty kicks to win 4-2 on another wild and controversial matchup between the Cascadia rivals on Sunday afternoon in Providence Park.
Kekuta Manneh and Pedro Morales provided the scoring for Whitecaps FC, while the Timbers tallied goals from Diego Valeri, Jack McInerney, Dairon Asprilla, and Darlington Nagbe in a match that saw three penalty kicks, two handball calls inside the box, and an automatic red card shown after the final whistle.
The home side, who entered Sunday on a three-game losing skid, got off to a dream start in the third minute when centre back Pa-Modou Kah was whistled for a foul against McInerney while chasing down a loose ball on the edge of the box. Valeri was calm on the ensuing penalty kick, giving the Timbers an early goal advantage.
Portland would double their lead in the 29th minute when McInerney capitalized with a turn and finish after Kendall Waston lost his footing on defence in front of goal.
Manneh and Oregon native Erik Hurtado, starting together up front for the second consecutive match, would create chances for the ‘Caps but neither could cut into the Timbers lead in the first half. In the 30th minute, Hurtado got loose on a break and found the back of the net but the goal was called back as the official whistled a deliberate handball violation.
Vancouver would slice the lead shortly after halftime when Manneh, the reigning MLS Player of the Week, worked his way into the box then launched a shot that deflected off a sliding Nat Borchers, before looping over Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and into the net. It was Manneh’s fourth goal of the season, and his third in the last two matches.
The momentum looked to have swung Vancouver’s way as David Ousted produced a number of highlight-worthy stops, including a diving right-hand save to stave off a McInerney strike from long distance in the 56th minute.
But the course of the match changed again in the 76th minute when Vancouver was whistled for a handball, after a Valeri cross deflected off Waston and made contact with Kah, allowing Asprilla to pad the Timbers lead to 3-1 on another penalty kick.
Things continued to go awry for the ‘Caps shortly after, as Nagbe put the match away with a well-taken direct free kick from right outside the box, curling one around the wall and to the right side of the net and give Portland a comfortable three-goal advantage in the 82nd minute.
The ‘Caps got one back just two minutes after when Octavio Rivero earned the visitors a penalty kick of their own when he drew a foul from Liam Ridgewell inside the Vancouver attacking zone. Morales scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season, and his fifth on a penalty, but it was too little, too late for Vancouver.
The tension boiled over late as an automatic red card was issued to Waston for a tackle on Asprilla.
With the result, the ‘Caps suffer their first Cascadia loss of the season, after previously winning at Seattle Sounders FC in Week 3, and at home versus the Timbers last week. Seattle and Portland have yet to face each other this season.
Whitecaps FC return home to host Houston Dynamo on Saturday, May 28. Kickoff at BC Place is set for 3 p.m.