PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers wrote the newest chapter of their old rivalry with the Vancouver Whitecaps for the first time under the MLS banner with a 2-1 victory over their Cascadia Cup rivals on Saturday at JELD-WEN Field.
The first meeting between the expansion teams didn’t lack in action with the sides combining for 25 shots, including a tone-setting Portland goal by midfielder Diego Chara in the second minute. Forward Jorge Perlaza added his sixth goal of the season in the 33rd minute as Portland ended their three-game winless streak despite a late rally by the 'Caps.
Fans were barely settling into their seats when Chara scored the fastest goal in Timbers MLS history, which also happened to be his first in MLS. The goal transpired when Portland forward Kenny Cooper created a turnover at midfield that bounced kindly to midfielder Jack Jewsbury.
He sent it up to forward Perlaza, who continued it on to fellow Colombian Chara. The Timbers Designated Player then uncorked a shot past a diving Joe Cannon to the top left corner of the goal.
Portland got on the board again not long after the half-hour mark off a Jewsbury free kick from just wide of the goalmouth. Portland defender Mamadou "Futty" Danso knocked the kick down on a header and it fell perfectly for Perlaza, who chipped it neatly past Cannon.
Vancouver didn’t threaten often, but gathered some steam late in the match. The ‘Caps finally halved the deficit in the 88th minute when defender Jordan Harvey found Camilo onside in the box for an open look at the goal. The Brazilian attacker capitalized with a strike into the far corner of the net.
Dangerous Whitecaps forward Eric Hassli was held mostly in check. He managed two shots on goal but Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins managed both easily.
It was the first game back home for Portland, who entered the night five points out of the final wildcard playoff spot, after a brutal three-game road trip that started with a tie against San Jose and then losses to Houston and Kansas City. With the win, the seventh-place Timbers improve to 9-12-5 and keep the heat on sixth-place Chivas USA, who they host on Aug. 24 as the playoff race tightens.
Vancouver, meanwhile, drop to 3-13-9. They next host Houston on Aug. 27.
POR -- Diego Chara 1 (Jorge Perlaza 2, Jack Jewsbury 8) 2
POR -- Jorge Perlaza 6 (unassisted) 33
VAN -- Camilo 8 (Jordan Harvey 4) 88
POR -- Kalif Alhassan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 23
VAN -- John Thorrington (caution; Reckless Tackle) 73
VAN -- Camilo (caution; Handball) 86
Vancouver Whitecaps -- Joe Cannon, Jeb Brovsky, Michael Boxall, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey, John Thorrington, Gershon Koffie, Peter Vagenas (Mustapha Jarju 51), Camilo, Eric Hassli (Omar Salgado 84), Davide Chiumiento (Shea Salinas 63).
Substitutes Not Used: Philippe Davies, Greg Janicki, Jonathan Leathers, Jay Nolly.
Portland Timbers -- Troy Perkins, Lovel Palmer, Mamadou Danso (Eric Brunner 76), David Horst, Mike Chabala, Sal Zizzo, Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Kalif Alhassan, Kenny Cooper (James Marcelin 83), Jorge Perlaza (Bright Dike 69).
Substitutes Not Used: Darlington Nagbe, Brian Umony, Rodney Wallace, Adin Brown.
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: Corey Rockwell; Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Jasen Anno
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Sunny and 92 degrees