Match Recap

Timbers fall 2-1 to FC Cincinnati on the road

Asprilla brings Portland within one in the second half, but Timbers fall short of finding equalizer.

In Portland's first visit to TQL Stadium – and second visit to Cincinnati, Ohio in over four years – they brought the fight to the Eastern Conference's second place FC Cincinnati.

A first half that witnessed both clubs fighting for possession and dynamic approaches, momentum was a constant shuffle from Cincy to Portland and back to Cincy. Aljaz Ivacic continued his fine form making key saves within the first 20 minutes of action, and looked comfortable with FC Cincinnati's advances and crosses into his box. A chippy first 30 minutes saw two Timbers players be shown the caution card, the energy for an opener very much present.

Evander came close to finding the first of the night in the 26th minute. Juan David Mosquera placed a pin-point cross into the box that Evander made contact with between two Cincinnati defenders. Evander's header would sail over Roman Calentano's crossbar, keeping the game scoreless heading into the quarter-way of the match.

With momentum swinging like a pendulum, it would be the hosts that would capitalize first in the 33rd minute via a Sergio Santos header.

Just before the halftime whistle, the Timbers again looked dangerous and nearly netted the equalizer. With seconds left in stoppage time, Mosquera made a deep run from Portland's own half down the left sideline and upon reaching the endline clipped a cross into the six-yard box. Calentano deflected the ball with one hand right to an inbound David Ayala who pounced at the rebound. Much like Evander's shot earlier, Ayala's header would go just over the crossbar, keeping the score at 1-0 in favor of the hosts.


As the second half got under way, Portland seemed more aggressive in pursuit of their opener, with FC Cincinnati having to stretch themselves on defense for the first 10 minutes of the half. 

In the 57th minute the hosts would find their second of the night, courtesy of Brandon Vasquez. The USMNT striker lurked in the box and following a rebound off an Ivacic clearance, he found himself with the ball and secured it into the back of the net.

Although down by two and on the road, Portland did not put their guard down, and began to mount an offensive push looking to get their flow going. Three minutes later, it would pay off. Dairon Asprilla found himself in the right place at the right time. After Santiago Moreno pushed to the endline on the right side, he sent a dangerous cross into the six-yard box that Calentano deflected straight to a waiting Asprilla. With an easy tap-in, Dairon Asprilla gave life to Portland with 30 minutes to go.

Portland looked to capitalize on the momentum, and needing just one more goal to equalize, they began mounting offensive runs.

Santiago Moreno came close in the 68th minute, making an approach into the box and slotting a right footed grounder towards goal that Calentano would secure in a diving save.

With the clock ticking down, FC Cincinnati made defensive adjustments to limit the Portland offensive output. The Timbers fought until the very end in search of the game-tying goal, but with only four minutes of stoppage time added at 90th minute and an FC Cincinnati on-field 'injury' to end their momentum, they would eventually fall short.

A 2-1 defeat in Ohio leaves Portland grasping onto the final play-off spot in the Western Conference. In the defeat's silver lining, Dairon Asprilla has now scored in two consecutive matches four games after making his return from knee surgery in February.

Portland returns home to prepare for a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matchup on Wednesday April 26 against Orange County SC.