First MLS appearance – a start at that – first MLS goal and a first log slab from Timber Joey.
It’d be hard to script a better beginning.
“It was a dream and that’s how I wanted it,” said Timbers midfielder Marvin Loría who joined teammates Diego Valeri, Brian Fernandez and Jeremy Ebobisse on the scoresheet as Portland blasted the Houston Dynamo in a 4-0 victory at Providence Park Wednesday night.
For Loría, the start and the goal culminated over a year of work for the young Costa Rican who signed with the club’s United Soccer League side, Timbers 2, ahead of the 2018 season from Saprissa. After a season at that level that saw him make 30 appearances (24 starts) and score a team-high seven goals and record six assists, he earned a first team MLS contract ahead of the 2019 season. In January, Loría earned his first cap with the Costa Rica national team.
But Saturday evening’s match was a unique one to remember, even beyond his acrobatic goal in the 39th minute. From jetting into attack to earn the team a penalty in the 58th minute, to making a play to start a counter-attack leading to another, to having the Timbers Army chant his name while he did on-field interviews after the match, Loria took it all in.
“It was a beautiful moment for me," he said. "I had always seen the guys [lifting slabs] in every game and that’s always been one of my goals. I’m very happy and I enjoyed the opportunity.”
Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese was definitely pleased with the performance.
“Thank God Loría had a very good match because when you play your first match, you always want it to go the right way,” he said. “He’s been working very well to deserve what he had today.”
Defender Julio Cascante, a fellow Costa Rican who played with Loría going back to their Saprissa days, was thrilled for his teammate’s big night.
“I’m so proud of him because he was waiting for this opportunity and well, he took advantage of this,” he said. “He scored and he did a great, great job.
"For now, I think he just has to keep working because this is just the beginning.”
Loría was happy to enjoy the moment and his team's victory. But he also knows that there is much more work ahead as well as many more games coming up in a short period of time – Portland travels to Montréal for a match just four days from now.
“It’s a good opportunity for everyone," said Loría. "There are a lot of games and everyone has to be ready.
"If I get selected, I’m going to do my best and take advantage of the opportunities.”