The Portland Timbers beat group rivals CD Olimpia in their first ever home match in the CONCACAF Champions League tonight, taking the lead three times on the way to a 4-2 win at Providence Park. After going into the half tied at two apiece, the Timbers scored two unanswered goals in the second half to secure the win and put them on top of their CCL group.
After some early jitters, the Timbers started to take control of the match early on, out passing and out possessing their visitors when holding the ball and keeping up some high pressure without it. The approach paid off in the 11' as Will Johnson put pressure on an Olimpia defender deep in the Timbers' attacking half.
Winning the ball away in an advantageous position, Johnson's outstretched boot deflected the ball to Maximiliano Urruti, who was running toward the end line. With the ball at his feet, Urruti drove into the box, then pushed the ball onto his right foot, taking two touches across the face of the goal before firing a low shot at the near post. Olimpia keeper Noel Valladares was able to reverse directions and get down to put a hand to the hard shot, but he could not get a solid contact on the ball and instead only redirected it into the side of the net, rather than the back.
The Timbers kept up the pressure as the half wore on, but Olimpia managed to get back on track in the 20' off the Timbers' natural enemy: a corner kick. Swinging the ball into the box at the near post, it was Kevin Alvarez who rose above the pack, putting the ball on goal with a slight header that left Andrew Weber rooted to the line as it hit the back of the net.
Six minutes later the Timbers took their second lead of the match. This time is was Gaston Fernandez setting up the chance with a first-time back-heel pass into space in Olimpia's half. Running onto the ball 25 yards from goal, Will Johnson found himself with acres of space. After a steadying touch, Johnson ripped a wicked shot that banked hard, wrong-footing Valladares, who could only get a fingertip to it as the shot splashed into the back of the net.
The Timbers' lead would not make it to halftime, however, as a 44' foul from Danny O'Rourke earned the Timbers' utility-man a yellow and gave Olimpia a free kick 30 yards from goal. A whipped in shot from distance off the freekick looked bound for the hands of Weber, but to the surprise of everyone on the field it instead bounced off his gloves and fell to the feet of Romell Quioto. With nothing but goal in front of him, all Quioto had to do was put the ball away to bring the score to 2-2 going into the break.
As the second half began, the Timbers once again took and held possession for much of the match, looking to "impose their game", a common refrain from Porter's side, on the visitors.
In the 57', the Timbers' game paid off as, for the second time on the night, Urruti got on the scoresheet. As the Timbers moved the ball around the Olimpia box following a quick break down the pitch, it found its way to Johnson at the top of the Olimpia box as Urruti broke forward, through the defensive line.
A clipped forward pass from Johnson settled nicely for Urruti, still slightly bouncing as Valladares charged out at him. With a calm touch, Urruti put the ball up and over the keeper, letting it bounce once before hammering the ball into the now open net.
The final blow came in the 72' off another quick break down the pitch from the Timbers. After some hard work from Fernandez and Rodney Wallace, who came on as a substitute at the end of the second half, earned the Timbers a corner, it was Fernandez who stepped up to take it.
Dropping a looping corner kick into the Olimpia box at the back post, Fernandez put the ball right onto the runs of both Timbers' centerback, Rauwshan McKenzie and Norberto Paparatto. It was McKenzie who put a head to the ball, however, sending an arching header back across the face of goal and into the side netting as Valladares could only watch.
Now up 4-2, the Timbers dropped further and further back, absorbing pressure from the energetic Olimpia attack, but only allowing long shots and early crosses into the box. Olimpia pushed the ball forward and the Timbers cleared, repeating until the whistle was finally blows, ending the match in the first Timbers' win in Providence Park since early August.