SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Playing in their second match of the 2016-17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League group stage, the Portland Timbers scored two away goals in a 4-2 road loss against Deportivo Saprissa at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa on Wednesday night. Midfielder Diego Valeri scored the opening goal for the Timbers, while forward Fanendo Adi recorded his 15th goal in all competitions midway through the second half.
Portland (1-1-0, 3pts CCL) opened the scoring early in the first half when Valeri scored his 13th goal in all competitions this season in the fifth minute of play, tying his career high with the Timbers. The finish occurred after an effective combination play between Valeri and Adi, with Adi holding the ball up just inside the 18-yard box before setting it for Valeri, who took a touch before carefully placing his right-footed shot into the bottom left corner.
Approaching halftime, Deportivo Saprissa (2-0-1, 7pts CCL) managed to level the score after a low, driven cross into the box deflected off Timbers defender Jermaine Taylor and snuck into the back of the net in the 34th minute, following a hard challenge on defender Steven Taylor during the play leading up to the goal. With one minute remaining in the first half, Saprissa took the lead when midfielder Marvin Angulo converted a penalty kick after midfielder Ben Zemanski was judged to have committed a foul inside just inside the 18-yard box.
In the 60th minute, Saprissa extended its lead when forward Fabricio Ronchetti ran onto midfielder Mariano Torres’ pass and snuck his effort into the back of the net.
Midway through the second half, Adi scored the Timbers’ second goal of the match with a powerful finish from deep inside the box, turning and firing his strong effort from close range after receiving a well-placed pass from defender Zarek Valentin in the 68th minute.
With the Timbers opening the second half on the attack, Portland created additional chances to score when Zemanski slipped a through ball to midfielder Ned Grabavoy, whose curling attempt from the left side of the box narrowly missed the top corner in the 49th minute of play, while Adi’s shot from midfielder Lucas Melano’s cross went just wide three minutes later. In the 79th minute, creative build-up play from Zemanski and second-half substitute led to another solid chance for Portland, with Zemanksi powering his way into the box before hitting a shot that forced a difficult finger-tip save for goalkeeper Danny Cavajal.
Saprissa scored its final goal of the game in 74th minute after the referee pointed to the penalty spot for a second time in the match, signaling for a handball after the ball managed to deflect off Steven Taylor’s arm from close range, as the defender attempted to block Saprissa’s shot from just outside the area. On the ensuing penalty kick, Angulo converted a second attempt from 12 yards away, giving the home side a two-goal lead with 16 minutes remaining in the game.
The result marks just the second loss for Portland in CONCACAF Champions League play (4-2-0), dating back to the 2014 campaign, with the Timbers earning three points in their opening match of the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League after defeating C.D. Dragon 2-1 at Providence Park on Aug. 3. With one game in hand on Saprissa and C.D. Dragon, the Timbers currently sit in second place in the Group B standings. Portland will return to Champions League play when it travels to El Salvador to face C.D. Dragon on Sept. 27, before concluding the group stage against Saprissa at Providence Park on Oct. 19.
Next up, the Timbers return to league play on Saturday, Sept. 17, against the Philadelphia Union at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 3 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be broadcast live on ROOT SPORTS with local radio broadcasts on KUFO 970 AM (English) and La GranD 1150 AM/93.5 FM (Spanish).
Portland Timbers (1-1-0, 3pts CCL) vs. Deportivo Saprissa (2-0-1, 7pts CCL)
Sept. 14, 2016 – Estadio Ricardo Saprissa (San Jose, Costa Rica)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 1 1 2
Deportivo Saprissa 2 2 4
POR: Valeri (Adi), 5
SAP: Own goal, 34
SAP: Angulo (Penalty kick), 45
SAP: Ronchetti (Torres), 60
POR: Adi (Valentin), 68
SAP: Angulo (Penalty kick), 74
POR: Adi (Caution), 20
SAP: Calvo (Caution), 20
POR: Melano (Caution), 22
POR: S. Taylor (Caution), 32
POR: Valeri (Caution), 44
Lineups & Stats:
POR: GK Gleeson, D Valentin, D S. Taylor, D J. Taylor, D Vytas, M Chara, M Zemanski, M Melano, M Valeri, M Grabavoy, F Adi
Substitutes Not Used: GK Konopka, D Peay, D/M Okugo, M Barmby, M Mattocks, F McInerney
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Two players tied, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Three players tied, 1); FOULS: 12 (Valeri, 3); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 4
SAP: GK Carvajal, D Machado, D Calvo, D Arauz, D Miller, M Guzman, M Torres, M Angulo, F Colindres, F Ronchetti, F Segura
Substitutes Not Used: GK Sequeira, D Cascante, M Mora, M Medina, M Golobio, F Chirino, F Blackburn
TOTAL SHOTS: 25 (Colindres, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Angulo, 4); FOULS: 14 (Three players tied, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 1
Referee: Yadel Martinez
Assistant Referees: Hiran Dopico, Leonardo Sanchez
4th Official: Marcos Brea
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 72 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial