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Diego Valeri Opens His Account in Portland Timbers 2-1 Win over Montreal Impact

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers got the game winner over the Montreal Impact from Diego Valeri as he curled home his first goal of the season in his first start of the season. Coming out the 2-1 winners, the Timbers put in a hard fought match that started as a defensive chess match, but opened up into a back and forth shootout in the second half.

Early on the Timbers found themselves frustrated by the Montreal defense, looking to break out through their front four but unable to find the final pass to unlock the defense. At the other end of the pitch, the Timbers' defense were once again solid, allowing several shots from outside the box, but shutting down anyone who might venture closer.

The Impact did manage a pair of dangerous chances thirty minutes in off a pair of free kicks. First, in the 32nd minute Liam Ridgewell brought down an Impact player out wide on the Timbers' left, just outside the box. Marco Donadel stepped up to the dead ball and fired a curling shot at the near post that nearly wrong-footed Adam Kwarasey, but instead saw the Timbers keeper get down to the ball and punch it away from goal.

The Impact followed that up with another close-in free kick in the 34th minute, this one from out wide on the Timbers' right. This time Donadel found Eric Miller in the center of the Timbers' box. As Miller lined up a volleyed shot, however, he was under heavy pressure from the Salty Dog, Jack Jewsbury, and could only pull his shot well wide of the post.

In the second half, both sides began to open up and the chances started to come for the Timbers.

Nat Borchers opened the scoring in the 64th minute, as the Timbers got the ball into the Montreal box and kept it there. Off a broken corner, Diego Chara collected the ball and chipped a quick ball into the box for Ridgewell who sent a header toward Fanendo Adi in the center of the box. Getting a head to the ball, Adi flicked the ball on goal, only to see Evan Bush make the save and knock the ball down. As the ball bounced in the box, however, Borchers was the only play on hand and nodded the ball home, opening the scoring on the night.

The Timbers got their second goal six minutes later in the 64th when Rodney Wallace got the ball just outside the box and got tangled up with a defender. With his man draped all over him, Wallace stuck out a foot and poked the ball toward Diego Valeri out on the left wing. With his first touch Valeri hit the ball hard, placing it just past the dive of Bush and into the back of the net.

The Impact came right back at the Timbers, however, and managed to pull one back in the 71st minute. Breaking quickly down the pitch after the restart, the Impact found substitute Eric Alexander in the box where he hammered a hard shot on goal. Kwarasey was equal to the chance, but could only palm it away, sending the ball directly to the feet of Dominic Oduro, who side footed home his follow up and pulled the Impact back within one.

It looked like the Impact had gotten the equalizer in the 78th minute when Jack McInerney headed home a loose ball in the Timbers box, but the goal was called back thanks to the sharp eye of the referee's assistant, who noticed McInerney shoving over Jewsbury earlier in the play.

The win puts the Timbers at 13 points from ten matches, withing one point of fourth place (or just in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference). The Timbers continue their string of road matches next Saturday against the Houston Dynamo.