PORTLAND, OR – Playing their fourth Cascadia Cup match of the season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-10L-7D) fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers (6W-13L-6D) in Major League Soccer on Saturday evening.
Goals by Darlington Nagbe and Franck Songo’o guided Portland to their first MLS victory under interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson and in front of a 30th consecutive sell-out of 20,438 at JELD-WEN Field, including more than 700 Whitecaps FC travelling supporters.
Victory for the Timbers takes them three points clear of second-place Seattle Sounders FC in the three-club Cascadia Cup standings, while defeat for Vancouver makes their chances of winning the fan-based trophy this season very remote.
“It was a disappointing result for us and also a disappointing performance,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “We’re on a tough little run at the moment, so we have to dig deep and find ourselves more strength and character to bounce back. That is the next phase for us.”
Portland opened the scoring on 41 minutes after Nagbe slotted home his sixth goal of the season for a 1-0 Portland lead.
In his third straight start since joining the ‘Caps last month, striker Kenny Miller drove home his first Whitecaps FC goal and his first goal in MLS in stoppage time for a 1-1 score at the break. The late first-half equalizer left the match well poised for the second half, but Whitecaps FC were unable to build on getting back to level terms, with Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts making two crucial saves from Barry Robson’s corner and Andy O’Brien’s header early in the second half.
Portland’s match winner came from a set-piece near the edge of the Whitecaps FC box on 55 minutes after Franck Songo’o stepped up to curl his free kick over the Vancouver wall and under a diving Cannon at the near post for his first goal of the season.
It left Whitecaps FC in need of finding another equalizer. The visitors created good chances through Miller, Richards, Robson, and John Thorrington, while Camilo had a curling strike cleared off the Portland goal line by Timbers defender Steven Smith on 74 minutes.
Yet, any hopes that the ‘Caps would find a way back into the match effectively ended on 84 minutes when Mattocks received a red card after match referee David Gantar adjudged that the young Jamaican struck Timbers centre back David Horst in the face with a raised arm. His sending off means the striker will miss next Saturday’s important trip to Western Conference rivals LA Galaxy.
Rennie’s squad will look to end a three-match losing streak in MLS when they travel to Southern California next weekend to face the Galaxy on September 1.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Jay DeMerit
Referee: David Gantar
41′ – POR – Darlington Nagbe (Jack Jewsbury, Eric Alexander)
45+1′ – VAN – Kenny Miller (Jay DeMerit)
55′ – POR – Franck Songo’o
Shots: Portland 16 – Vancouver 15
Shots on Goal: Portland 4 – Vancouver 8
Saves: Portland 6 – Vancouver 2
Fouls: Portland 9 – Vancouver 20
Offsides: Portland 0 – Vancouver 0
Corners: Portland 3 – Vancouver 5
32′ – VAN – Alain Rochat
65′ – VAN – John Thorrington
84′ – VAN – Darren Mattocks
1.Donovan Ricketts; 15.Kosuke Kimura, 33.Hanyer Mosquera, 12.David Horst, 14.Steven Smith; 6.Darlington Nagbe (30.Lovel Palmer 90+2′), 13.Jack Jewsbury, 17.Eric Alexander (22.Rodney Wallace 79′); 7.Sal Zizzo, 19.Bright Dike(10.Danny Mwanga 86′), 8.Franck Songo’o
Substitutes not used: 23.Joseph Bendik, 2.Michael Fucito, 9.Kris Boyd, 98.Mamadou Danso
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 40.Andy O’Brien (15.Martin Bonjour 61′), 6.Jay DeMerit, 4.Alain Rochat; 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 11.John Thorrington (22.Darren Mattocks 65′); 20.Dane Richards (9.Atiba Harris 85’), 14.Barry Robson, 37.Camilo Sanvezzo; 7.Kenny Miller
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 3.Jordan Harvey, 16.Matt Watson, 31.Russell Teibert