MONTREAL – Oh, Diego Valeri. How you were missed.
Valeri opened his 2015 account with a beautiful goal that made the difference on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo, as the Portland Timbers picked up a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact. Nat Borchers scored Portland’s first, while substitute Dominic Oduro got Montreal’s goal.
On his first start since recovering from knee surgery, Valeri played 72 minutes and provided an offensive spark for Portland had badly needed this season. His winning goal, in the 70th minute, was excellent; Rodney Wallace, in a duel with Nigel Reo-Coker, got down to hook the ball in Valeri’s direction, just inside the box on goalkeeper Evan Bush’s right. Valeri, looking nothing like a man in convalescence, curled a wonderful first-time shot at the far post past Bush.
Borchers had gotten the opener only six minutes earlier. After a corner kick was cleared, Liam Ridgewell nodded a cross to Fanendo Adi, whose header was stopped by Bush. But the rebound fell to Borchers, who headed the ball in.
A crazy seven-minute spell also saw Oduro score. After some fancy footwork down the left by Ignacio Piatti, the ball reached Eric Alexander who smacked a shot stopped by Adam Kwarasey. Oduro, who’d checked in only two minutes earlier, blasted the rebound home.
Jack McInerney appeared to draw Montreal level in the 78th minute – referee Mark Geiger signalled for a goal at first – but his attempt ended up being nothing more than that. The assistant noted a foul by McInerney on Jack Jewsbury. Montreal kept committing numbers forward and could well have conceded on the counter, but the 2-1 scoreline prevailed.
The Impact, still seeking their first league victory, return to the Amway Canadian Championship next Wednesday, May 13, when they take a 1-0 advantage to Toronto FC’s BMO Field for the second leg of their semifinal tie. The Timbers will be back in action next Saturday, May 16, at Houston. Montreal host Real Salt Lake at Stade Saputo that same day.
Portland Timbers (3-3-4, 13pts) at Montreal Impact (0-3-2, 2pts)
May 9, 2015 – Stade Saputo (Montreal, Quebec)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 0 2 2
Montreal Impact 0 1 1
POR: Borchers, 64
POR: Valeri (Wallace), 70
MTL: Oduro, 71
MTL: Piatti (Caution), 78
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Kwarasey, D Powell, D Borchers, D Ridgewell ©, D Villafaña, M Chara, M Jewsbury, M Nagbe, M Valeri (Asprilla, 72), M Wallace (Yartey, 81), F Adi (Urruti, 87)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Weber, D Paparatto, D Jeanderson, M Fochive
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Valeri, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Valeri, 2); FOULS: 8 (Chara, 4); OFFSIDES: 6; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 4
MTL: GK Bush, D Miller, D Ciman, D Soumaré, D Reo-Coker ©, M Mallace (Alexander, 61), M Donadel, M Romero, M Piatti, M Duka (Oduro, 69), F McInerney (Cooper, 86)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Kronberg, D Lefevre, D Tissot, M Bernier
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Donadel, Oduro, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Alexander, 2); FOULS: 16 (McInerney, 4); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 7
Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Eric Boria, Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
4th Official: Mathieu Bourdeau
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Cloudy, 79 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial