VANCOUVER, B.C. — After last week's scoreless draw between the Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps, the two teams came each with a perceived advantage in their Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinal. The Timbers didn't give up an away goal and the 'Caps were on home turf. As it turned out, the Whitecaps' failure to grab an away goal at Providence Park proved costly.
In Sunday's home leg at BC Place, once Fanendo Adi struck that crucial away goal for Portland, the Whitecaps needed two scores to secure the victory. They couldn't get one.
Timbers midfielder Diego Chara added a second four minutes into second-half stoppage time, and Portland ran out 2-0 winners on the night and on aggregate, moving on to their second Western Conference Championship in three years. They challenge FC Dallas in the 1st Leg at Providence Park on November 22nd (7:30 p.m., FS1 | TSN2).
Tickets for the Timbers playoff match against FC Dallas go on-sale Tuesday, November 10 at 10 a.m. PT.
To purchase tickets, please visit www.timbers.com, call 1-888-736-6849 or visit the Providence Park Box Office. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT Tuesday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Friday and Saturday.
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Both teams were in attack mode from the kickoff, with Vancouver pushing hard for the early breakthrough in a breathtakingly fast-paced start.
Kekuta Manneh flashed a shot just past the right post six minutes in and he came even closer three minutes later, crashing a low drive off the left post and off the back of Adam Kwarasey for a corner.
Portland were creating chances on the counter, and Diego Valeri curled one wide from distance in the 14th minute.
The 'Caps chances were hit hard midway through the half when Manneh rolled his ankle, limping off in the 25th minute to be replaced by Mauro Rosales.
Not for the first time this season, Vancouver's early dominance produced no end results, and after withstanding intense pressure, Portland took control of the tie with Adi's opening goal in the 31st minute. The striker buried a Valeri cutback from the end line high into the Whitecaps' net.
Vancouver tried to regroup and Octavio Riviero came close to leveling in the 44th minute, with a looping header from a Rosales free kick that Kwarasey had to tip high from beneath his crossbar.
The second half played out in similar fashion, with Vancouver trying to initiate their attack and Portland looking comfortable in possession.
Excepting an early penalty shout from the Whitecaps, it was half chances for both teams, and not many of those.
Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted had little to do all evening, aside from removing the ball from his net, though he had to react quickly in the 81st minute, as a Portland free kick came in untouched.
Vancouver seemed resigned to their fate, one sealed four minutes into stoppage time. A quick Portland break saw Chara tuck away an a pass to double the Timbers' lead, ensuring they'd advance.