Bair nets first MLS goal, but ‘Caps fall in wild Cascadia battle

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MLS Whitecaps vs Portland Photo by Simon Fearn ISN

Theo Bair scored his first MLS goal in a wild Cascadia battle as Vancouver Whitecaps FC fell 3-1 to Portland Timbers on Saturday night at Providence Park.

The Homegrown forward equalized for the ‘Caps 10 minutes after Sebastián Blanco opened the scoring for the Timbers in the 28th minute. However the Timbers would score twice more in the second half from Marvin Loría’s long strike in the 55th minute and Jeremy Ebobisse’s late counter in the 90th minute.

In the pouring rain of Portland, head coach Marc Dos Santos used a 4-3-2-1 formation for the third straight match, making two changes to the starting XI, including Andy Rose for Felipe Martins who was traded to D.C. United earlier this week, and Yordy Reyna returning from injury in place of Joaquín Ardaiz.

A back-and-forth first half saw close chances for both sides, including a monster team-effort save by the ‘Caps in the 20th minute. The Timbers got three chances from close range but Derek Cornelius, Maxime Crépeau, and Ali Adnan all worked to keep the ball out of the net.

However, with Adnan off the field injured, the Timbers would be the first to score in the 28th minute through a long strike from Blanco that just got past the fingertips of Crépeau and into the back of the net. Adnan was leave the match minutes later with a left adductor strain.

Bair would respond in memorable fashion, scoring his first MLS goal in the 38th minute to tie the match at 1-1. Fredy Montero delivered a ‘Caps corner into the box that was cleared to the top of the 18, but the Ottawa, Ontario native latched onto the ball with a spectacular one-time volley out of midair to find the back of the net. Saturday’s match was the 19-year-old’s ninth MLS appearance and fifth start for the ‘Caps.

The Timbers got their second goal of the night in the 55th minute off another long strike from Loría.

Once again, the ‘Caps were looking to respond quickly and Reyna did just that two minutes later, getting behind the Timbers’ defenders, beating goalkeeper Steve Clark and finding the back of the net. But the goal was called back after an offside flag was raised.

Ebobisse finished the match with a late goal in the 90th minute, making the final score 3-1.

Whitecaps FC return home to BC Place next Saturday, August 17 to host Wayne Rooney and D.C. United. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. PT.