PORTLAND, Ore. – Behind a first half goal from midfielder Diego Valeri, the Portland Timbers ended even with the Vancouver Whitecaps in a hard-fought 1-1 draw on Saturday night at Providence Park.
In a chippy and physical match between Cascadian rivals, wrapped up with a pair red cards after the final whistle, it was a pair of Argentinians who were the difference makers in front of goal.
The Timbers opened the scoring in the 34th minute when Diego Chara turned over Matias Laba in the Vancouver half, knocking the ball forward to Timbers’ leading scorer Fanendo Adi. The big man turned and drove toward the Whitecaps goal before sliding a ball out wide for Diego Valeri’s run into the right side of the box.
With a strong swipe, Valeri beat David Ousted at the near post.
The Whitecaps fought back in the second half, however, pulling even in the 58th minute as Kekuta Manneh controlled the ball outside the Timbers’ penalty box. It was not the young Gambian who would score, however, as Laba took the ball off Manneh’s foot and ripped a swerving shot that curled just between the fingertips of Timbers’ keeper Adam Kwarasey and the far post, putting the Whitecaps back on level footing.
The Whitecaps could have had the lead in the early going were it not for some goal-line heroics from center back Nat Borchers.
Vancouver seemed certain to net the opener in the 27th minute as Manneh, scorer of three goals in the Whitecaps’ previous five games, found himself one on one with Timbers’ keeper Adam Kwarasey. With a slick bit of dribbling, Manneh flew around the keeper and slotted the ball towards the empty net, but Borchers slid in to clear it off the line.
It wouldn't be a Cascadia derby without some last-second excitement, in this case provided by Jordan Harvey and Will Johnson. After a series of hard tackles from both sides, Harvey went in hard on Valeri as he lost control of the ball, drawing a red card from referee Juan Guzman with no hesitation.
It was not over there, however, as Johnson received marching orders of his own while mixed up in a scrum at the center of the pitch after the final whistle had blown.
The Timbers return to the road next Saturday to face Western Conference leaders FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium, while the Whitecaps are home at BC Place the following day to welcome the San Jose Earthquakes.
Portland Timbers (9-7-5, 32pts) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10-8-3, 33pts)
July 18, 2015 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 1 1
Portland Timbers 1 0 1
POR: Valeri (Adi), 33
VAN: Laba (Manneh), 57
VAN: Parker (Caution), 22
POR: Ridgewell (Caution), 36
POR: Chara (Caution), 47
VAN: Harvey (Ejection), 90+1
POR: Wallace (Caution), 90+2
POR: Johnson(Caution), 90+5
POR: Johnson (Ejection), 90+5
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Kwarasey, D Powell, D Borchers, D Ridgewell, D Villafaña, M Johnson ©, M Chara, M Asprilla (Wallace, 67), M Valeri, M Nagbe (Fernández, 83), F Adi (Urruti, 76)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Weber, D Paparatto, D Peay, M Jewsbury
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Valeri, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Valeri, 2); FOULS: 12 (Adi, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 4
VAN: GK Ousted ©, D Beitashour, D Parker, D Dean, D Harvey, M Laba, M Koffie, M Rosales (Teibert, 84), M Mezquida (Techera, 67), M Manneh (Froese, 90+1), F Rivero
Substitutes Not Used: GK Tornaghi, D Rodriguez, M Flores, F Hurtado
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Manneh, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Manneh, 4); FOULS: 14 (Rivero, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 2
Referee: Juan Guzman
Assistant Referees: Chris Strickland, Marco Arruda
4th Official: Edvin Jurisevic
Time of Game: n/a
Weather: Sunny, 92 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial