PORTLAND, Ore. – It was not lacking in drama, and there was plenty of action as one would expect in a Cascadia Cup rivalry match, but the goals were nowhere to be found Saturday night at Providence Park as the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a scoreless 0-0 draw.
The home crowd was sent into a frenzy upon the return of Argentine playmaker Diego Valeri, who came on as a second-half substitute after missing the first two months of the season while recovering from an ACL injury suffered in the season finale last year.
However anticlimactic, the point in their ninth game of the season move Portland into a group of five Western Conference teams sitting on 10 points.
Vancouver will likely find solace in the road point a week after losing at home to D.C. United, keeping them tied with FC Dallas atop the conference table with 17 points from 10 games.
Neither team found much of a rhythm in the first half, and the Timbers squandered two golden chances to score at the half-hour mark.
First, Vancouver center back Pa Modou Kah was called for a handball in the box in the 29th minute. But Darlington Nagbe pinged the ensuing spot kick off the right post on a right-footed attempt.
Vancouver’s best chance of the first half came in the very first minute when left back Jordan Harvey made a sneaky run into the box to receive a Mauro Rosales cross for an open shot, but it was dealt with easily by Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.
Valeri’s biggest imprint from his near 40-minute shift came in the 78th minute when he ran onto a Jorge Villafana cross in the box but pushed his sliding shot just wide.
Vancouver, meanwhile, were limited to just seven shots, two on goal. Late attempts by Octavio Rivero, Kekuta Manneh and Gershon Koffie all went begging for more.
Vancouver shift gears into the Canadian Championship, where they will face FC Edmonton in a semifinal match on Tuesday before returning to league play Saturday at home against the Philadelphia Union. Portland hit the road for their next match, a Saturday meeting with CONCACAF Champions League runner-up Montreal Impact.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.
Portland Timbers (2-3-4, 10pts) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5-3-2, 17pts)
May 2, 2015 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 0 0
Portland Timbers 0 0 0
VAN: Sampson (Caution), 19
POR: Wallace (Caution), 44
VAN: Kah (Caution), 57
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Kwarasey, D Powell, D Borchers, D Ridgewell ©, D Villafaña, M Chara, M Jewsbury, M Wallace (Fernández, 78), M Nagbe, M Yartey (Valeri, 52), F Urruti (Adi, 66)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Weber, D Paparatto, D Jeanderson, M Fochive
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Nagbe, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Jewsbury, 1); FOULS: 6 (Chara, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 2
VAN: GK Ousted, D Harvey, D Kah, D Waston, D Sampson (Parker, 88), M Koffie, M Teibert, M Rosales (Mezquida, 78), M Mattocks (Manneh, 58), M Morales ©, F Rivero
Substitutes Not Used: GK Tornaghi, M Flores, M Techera, F Earnshaw
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Rivero, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Harvey, Rivero, 1); FOULS: 16 (Kah, Rivero, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 1
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: George Gansner, Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Clear, 70 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial