Fanendo Adi scored yet another brace in tonight's 2-1 Portland Timbers win over the Columbus Crew to give the Timbers their first win in five matches. In a wide open, back and forth game, the Timbers were able to come up with three key points against their final Eastern Conference opponents of the season.
The Timbers struck first in the 28th minute coming off a brilliant individual effort from Darlington Nagbe and a strong finish from team scoring leader Adi. Getting the ball in the midfield, Nagbe drove hard at the Crew box, playing a quick one-two pass off Diego Valeri before chipping a quick bouncing ball in for Adi lurking off the back shoulder of his defender. With half a step on the Columbus back line, Adi had all the space needed to fire off a quick, low shot under the onrushing form of keeper Steve Clark. Clark was able to get a touch on the ball, but Adi's shot had the power and skipped into the back of the net to open the scoring.
In truth, the Timbers should have had the opener earlier in the match. In the 9th minute, Nagbe fought through the Crew defense, taking a dropped ball from Adi into the Columbus box. On Nagbe's back was his former Akron teammate Will Trapp, who first pulled on Nagbe's shorts then slide into his legs from the side, taking the Timbers' attacker down. As the ball ran out of bounds, however, referee Silvio Petrescu waved no foul in one of the most absurd decisions the Timbers have faced this season.
As the first half wore on, however, the Crew began to assert themselves on the game, finally winning a corner kick in the 43rd minute. With Frederico Higauin serving the ball into the box, the top goalscorer in MLS, Kei Kamara, streaked toward the near post. With Liam Ridgewell releasing him to an unaware Rodney Wallace, Kamara found himself with a free header and did not let it go to waste, hitting a hard, bouncing shot that Adam Kwarasey could only wave at as it slammed into the net to even up the score.
The Timbers were not done, however, and stormed back in the second half.
In the 50th minute, the Timbers broke down the field with Valeri driving at the Crew back line. As a defender stepped to him, Valeri slipped a pass down the left flank for Rodney Wallace, who outraced his marker and put a low cross into the box where Adi was charging at the near post. With the ball skipping in front of him, Adi stuck out a leg and got his foot on the ball, redirecting it past Clark for what would be the game winning goal.
The Crew poured on the pressure for the remainder of the match, but were not able to break through the stout Timbers defense and aggressive play from Kwarasey.
The win leaves the Timbers still in 6th place in the West, but now with a four point cushion over the seventh place San Jose Earthquakes. The Timbers return home next week for a Saturday night match against Sporting Kansas City at Providence Park.