PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers opened the 2016 regular season with a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC before a sold-out crowd of 21,144 fans at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon. Forward Fanendo Adi and midfielder Diego Valeri, who combined for nine of the team’s 20 shots, both found the back of the net for Portland, propelling the Timbers to their third straight win over Crew SC, including the team’s MLS Cup victory in 2015.
With the win, the Timbers (1-0-0, 3pts) remain undefeated in home openers since their inaugural MLS season in 2011, and when combined with the final stretch of the 2015 regular season and postseason run, Portland is now unbeaten in its last 10 games.
Valeri opened the scoring in the 23rd minute of play when his free kick, from the left side of the field, weaved its way inside the 18-yard box and past Crew SC goalkeeper Steve Clark to give the Timbers an early 1-0 lead. The Timbers were granted the free kick after forward Dairon Asprilla was brought down just outside the area by Crew SC defender Harrison Afful.
After Columbus (0-1-0, 0pts) leveled the score from an acrobatic overhead goal by Federico Higuaín in the 68th minute of play, Adi scored the game-winning goal, his 26th goal since joining the team during the 2014 campaign, pouncing on Asprilla’s powerful shot that was deflected into his path by Clark in the 79th minute.
Valeri and Asprilla both attempted six shots in the match, signifying just the third time that multiple players have recorded six or more shots in a single game for the Timbers since joining MLS in 2011. Valeri came close to securing a brace early in the second half when his low, driven effort from the edge of the area in the 50th minute rolled within inches of the far post.
Less than 15 minutes later, the Timbers created additional opportunities as Asprilla drove deep into Columbus’ half, before hitting a shot that was deflected away for a corner in the 56th minute, while Darlington Nagbe blasted a strong effort that rattled off the crossbar after running on to a well-timed pass from Valeri in the 61st minute.
Portland will travel to Avaya Stadium for their second match of the season, taking on the San Jose Earthquakes in a nationally televised game on Sunday, March 13; kickoff is set for 4 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 with local radio broadcasts on 750 AM/102.9 FM The Game (English) and La GranD 1150 AM/93.5 FM (Spanish).
Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew SC
March 6, 2016 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Columbus Crew SC 0 1 1
Portland Timbers 1 1 2
POR: Valeri, 23
CLB: Higuaín (Finlay), 68
POR: Adi, 79
CLB: Sauro (Caution), 25
CLB: Trapp (Caution), 45
POR: Taylor (Caution), 46
POR: Powell (Caution), 81
POR: Adi (Caution), 87
Lineups & Stats:
POR: GK Kwarasey, D Powell, D Ridgewell ©, D Borchers, D Taylor, M Chara, M Nagbe, M Valeri (Jewsbury, 87), F Melano, F Adi, F Asprilla
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gleeson, M Grabavoy, D Valentin, M/F Brett, M Zemanski, F McInerney
TOTAL SHOTS: 20 (Asprilla, Valeri, 6) ; SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Asprilla, Valeri, 2) ; FOULS: 13 (Adi, 7) ; OFFSIDES: 1 ; CORNER KICKS: 5 ; SAVES: 3
CLB: GK Clark, D Afful, D Parkhurst © (Caseym 85), D Sauro, D Francis, M Tchani, M Trapp, M Jiménez (Meram, 67), M Higuaín, M Finlay (Cedrick, 81), F Kamara
Substitutes Not Used: GK Stuver, D Ashe, M Saeid, D Tarek
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Higuaín, 7) ; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Kamara, 2) ; FOULS: 10 (Four players tied, 2) ; OFFSIDES: 1 ; CORNER KICKS: 8 ; SAVES: 6
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Adam Garner, Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Juan Guzman