From rain to sunshine — the Timbers paid a visit to defending champs Los Angeles Football Club at BMO Stadium Saturday afternoon for their Matchday 2 clash. After enduring the prolonged championship festivities, the Timbers went into action donning their Rose City kits against Carlos Vela and Co.
A scrappy match to begin, neither team could establish themselves for the first 20 minutes, LAFC, clearly rusty in their season debut, and Portland adjusting to their first game on the road. LAFC would take the advantage in the 24th minute off a corner kick, with defender Giorgio Chiellini finding the back of the net after a few rebounds in the Timbers' box.
Set pieces brought more danger for Portland, with two additional corner kicks presenting LAFC with close calls for a second. A few moments later however, it would come. A 32nd minute foul by Santiago Moreno in the box granted LAFC a shot via the penalty spot, and LAFC captain Carlos Vela buried the ball to Binghams’s lower-left, with the Portland goalkeeper going the opposite way.
A first half with few windows of opportunity, Portland’s playmaker Evander had some chances on goal, taking shots from direct freekicks and from outside the box, though not enough to intimidate LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy. Portland headed to the locker room down 2-0.
LAFC began to take over the game after scoring a third goal just seven minutes into the second half, courtesy of an Kwadwo Opoku boot into the bottom left of Bingham.
Halfway into the 61st minute however, a Portland breakaway led by rising star Juan David Mosquera resulted in Evander’s first MLS goal. Mosquera, pushing up the middle, slotted the ball towards the left where a Christian Paredes dummy resulted in the Brazilian star comfortably receiving the ball, positioning himself for a right footed shot, blasting it past McCarthy. It was game on, and the Timbers knew it.
GOAL | Evander rockets in his first goal of 2023 off a Timbers breakaway
Christian Paredes pulled another one back for Portland in the 83rd minute, pushing a ball into the LAFC net after some rebounds following a corner kick. A chippy play that started from a McCarthy clearance, Mosquera would bring the ball back into the box falling to Fogaça who with an overhead attempt placed it at Paredes' feet. The Paraguayan then simply pushed it into the back of the goal to bring Portland within one. In full super-sub mode, Paredes and company brought nerves to the home crowd with just seven minutes left in regulation.
GOAL | Cristhian Paredes slams one in from close range
Portland continued to push, and LAFC set themselves back into defensive mode, looking to avoid a late-game Timbers equalizer. The match went into six minutes of stoppage time, and with a few more Timbers onslaughts that would not bear fruit, Portland's second-half comeback would fall short. Portland dropped points, but showed resilience and grit in the latter half. In part thanks to head coach Giovanni Savarese’s tactical changes after the first 45 minutes, but also the never-give-up attitude from the players.
Returning to the Rose City, the Timbers will now shift their focus to league debutants St. Louis City SC, who will pay a visit to Providence Park for the first time in their history. That matchup is scheduled for March 11 at 7:30 pm PT.