One year after finishing their season in 8th place in the Western Conference, the Portland Timbers grabbed first place in the West with a 5-0 win over Chivas USA, securing their first round bye in the playoffs.
The Timbers opened the scoring in the 16' after a long period of pressure on the Chivas defense. Will Johnson slipped in Jose Adolfo Valencia, who penetrated into the Chivas box with the ball at his feet, taking on two defenders before being shut down by a timely tackle from Carlos Borja. The tackle sent the ball squirting out of the box, falling to a wide open Diego Valeri who, after a touch to steady the ball, wrong footed Chivas keeper Tim Melia and slotted the ball inside the near post.
Valeri continued the Goats' misery with a 29' goal to increase the scoreline to 2-0. As the Goats passed the ball around their back line, Jamie Frias sent an errant pass directly to Valeri at the top of the box. Under pressure from the Chivas defenders, Valeri shifted the ball onto his trusty right foot and again showed off his icy cool, looking up before sending a chipped shot to the far post and into the back of the net. The goal, his tenth on the season, made Valeri the Timbers leader in both goals and assists this year, as well as making him the first Timber to score double digit goals in a season since the team joined MLS.
Only five minutes later the Timbers got on the board again, and again it was the cool head of Diego Valeri that got them there. Receiving the ball in the Chivas corner, Valeri fought off the attentions of recent substitute Josue Soto, tossing him aside before taking a step toward the top of the box and threading a pass through the legs of Carlos Bocanegra to the onrushing Rodney Wallace. Wallace's slight touch was enough to redirect the ball around Melia and into the back of the net.
In the second half, the proceedings continued apace as the Timbers kept pouring on the pressure. Wallace, with the ball at his feet, drove down the left flank before cutting inside and firing off a shot. Melia was equal to Wallace's effort, but the rebound he gave up fell nicely to Ryan Johnson who, unmarked, put the ball away easily.
The icing on the cake came in the 76' when Will Johnson picked up a foul on the edge of the Chivas box. With a bursting run between two Chivas defenders, Johnson was knocked down millimeters outside the penalty box. In a moment that could have been a penalty kick in a more closely contested game, the result of the free kick was the same. Johnson stepped up to take the kick that he had earned moments earlier and sent in a low, curling shot that Melia lost behind the wall and was barely able to get a hand to on its way to the back of the net.
After some mid-season struggles, the Timbers closed out the regular season with an eight game unbeaten streak, consisting of six wins and two draws. The win over Chivas was the club's largest margin of victory in MLS and gave the team their third road win of the season, breaking 2011's record of two wins away from Jeld-Wen Field.