The Portland Timbers are headed to the MLS Cup Conference Finals for the second time in three years after beating the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 on the road. With the traveling Timbers Army in full voice throughout, the Timbers controlled the match and looked like the better team throughout.
The Timbers broke through in the 31st minute off a quickly taken throw in. Rodney Wallace collected the ball off the fast restart and played a short diagonal ball into the Whitecaps box for Diego Valeri to run onto. With a quick touch the Maestro slipped a quick pass toward the top of the box, finding the feet of Fanendo Adi. The Timbers' leading scorer had no hesitation in showing how he earned that designation, hitting Valeri's pass first time and slamming a left footed shot past the Whitecaps keeper at the near post.
The Whitecaps had their own chance to open the scoring in the early going in the 9th minute when Kekuta Manneh broke through the Timbers' midfield and fired off a long range, skipping pass that pinged off the post then ricocheted off the back of Adam Kwarasey and out for a 'Caps corner. Manneh looked like he would be the player that defined the match for Vancouver, but was forced out of the match in the 26th minute after turning his ankle.
After the Timbers went up, however, it was their constant possession advantage that allowed them to keep the Whitecaps pinned back even as the home team tried to throw men forward in search of the two goals they would need to advance. As the game wore on, the Whitecaps looked like they were drawing closer to a real chance at getting the equalizer, only for the Timbers to hold their lines and rebuff attack after attack.
Finally, in the 94th minute the Timbers closed the door on any sort of last minute heroics from the Whitecaps as Diego Chara got on he ball in the midfield and broke down the pitch in parallel with Fanendo Adi. Chara played a one-two pass off Adi then carried the ball into the box, sidestepping a recovering defender then slotting a simple shot under the dive of David Ousted to put the Timbers up 2-0 and seal the game.
The Timbers will take on FC Dallas in leg one of the Conference Finals at Providence Park on Sunday the 22nd.