BURNABY, B.C. – Defender Scot Thompson gave the Portland Timbers an early lead, but three second-half goals led the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 3-1 win at Swangard Stadium on Saturday. The Timbers snapped the Whitecaps shutout streak, but Vancouver won its fourth consecutive match to remain in first place in the USL First Division.
The Timbers (4-4-5, 17pts), playing their second match in three days, out-shot the Whitecaps 5-2 in the first half which led to Thompson’s first goal of the season. His strike in the eighth minute broke Vancouver’s three-match shutout steak.
Forward Eduardo Sebrango recorded a goal and an assist to lead the Whitecaps (7-2-1, 22pts) who unleashed nine shots in the second half to overcome a 1-0 deficit at halftime and extend their winning streak.
On loan through Saturday from the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer, forward Bryan Jordan recorded an assist in his second game with the Timbers.
Thompson delivered a header in the eighth minute to give Portland a 1-0 lead. A free kick by midfielder Andrew Gregor into the box was deflected by Vancouver out along the left post where Jordan chased down the loose ball. With time on the ball, Jordan crossed it to the back post where Thompson was able to nod in the go-ahead tally.
Down by a goal, the Whitecaps opened the second half with heavy pressure on the Timbers defense and quickly gained momentum in the first 10 minutes of the second period. In the 51st minute, Vancouver defender Omar Jarun sprung Sebrango on a breakaway, but a foul called on Jarun spoiled the attack.
Sebrango earned another chance in the 54th minute as Vancouver substitute Jason Jordan blasted a shot from the top of box that slipped by Portland goalkeeper Jordan James and bounced off the left post and back into play. Sebrango crashed the goal line on the follow up and buried home the equalizer.
Midfielder Martin Nash gave the Whitecaps a 2-1 advantage in the 67th minute. A low corner kick by Vancouver was headed out of the box by Portland defender Cameron Knowles. The ball landed at the feet of Nash who smashed a low, 20 yard shot inside the left post past the out-stretch arms of James for the lead.
In second-half stoppage time, a run by Vancouver midfielder Justin Moose and Sebrango led to the Whitecaps third goal of the half. Sebrango passed the ball through the box to midfielder Alfredo Valente at the back post who pushed through his first goal of the season.
The Timbers had chance to take a two-goal advantage midway through the first half as Gregor found midfielder Miguel Guante on a run into the box. With a step on his defender, Guante collected the ball for a one-on-one attempt with Nolly. Guante fired a low shot directly at Nolly who was able to knock the ball away.
Portland almost took a two-goal lead in the 18th minute as forward Chris Brown blistered a shot at the top left corner of the frame, but his from 24 yard shot missed just wide.
James, making his third consecutive start for Portland, recorded two of his three saves in the second half, including a point-blank reaction save early on as the Whitecaps peppered the Timbers’ box with shots. Then in the 62nd minute, James denied a diving header by Vancouver’s Steve Kindel from close range with a diving effort.
The Timbers return home for three games next week starting with a U.S. Open Cup match against Hollywood United of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association on June 10 at PGE Park; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400.
Notes: Thompson and the Timbers scored the first goal conceded by Vancouver since May 23 …Portland is now 1-12-2 in regular-season matches in Vancouver since 2001 … Saturday marked Gavin Wilkinson’s first game in Vancouver as the Timbers’ head coach … Timbers goalkeeper Ray Burse was recalled by MLS’s FC Dallas earlier in the week and missed Saturday’s match in Vancouver.
POR: GK James, D Griffin (Bagley, 83), D J. Thompson (Karalexis, 66), D Knowles, D S. Thompson, M Gregor, M Guante (Little, 71), M Brown, M Higgins (Poltl, 27), F Jordan, F Suzuki
VAN: GK Nolly, D Martin, D Pozniak, D Kambere, D Jarun, M Nash, M Kindel, M Arze (Valente, 45), M Moose, F Addlery (Jordan, 45), F Sebrango
POR: S. Thompson (Jordan), 8
VAN: Sebrango (Jordan), 54
VAN: Nash, 66
VAN: Valente (Sebrango), 90