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Portland Timbers Beat Columbus Crew SC 2-1. Again.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers grabbed and early and a late game winner to beat the Columbus Crew SC 2-1 in today's season opener.

The Crew looked menacing in the early going, attacking Jermaine Taylor on the Timbers' left flank. It took the erstwhile center back several minutes to settle into his left back role, one that he had not played in the preseason, but once the Timbers defense settled they rarely looked troubled by the visitors.

Despite the Crew holding the lion's share of the possession, it was the Timbers who threatened most often, hitting the Crew repeatedly on the counter and earning a series of free kicks around the Crew box.

Diego Valeri almost got the Timbers on the board in the early going when a series of quick passes at the top of the Crew box set Dairon Asprilla free in space. Asprilla lined up his shot and pulled the trigger, only to see Valeri redirect the off-target ball around Crew keeper Steve Clark and into the back of the net. Valeri was well offside, however, and the linesman was quick to put up his flag.

The Timbers would get in the book with their next chance, however, when Asprilla earned a foul out wide on the left flank in the 23rd minute. With Valeri standing over the ball, the Timbers crowded the Crew box. The Maestro whipped in a hard, low free kick that curled around the wall and skipped through the box, narrowly missing the run of Liam RIdgewell and flat-footing Clark as the ball skipped by him and into the net, giving the Timbers the 1-0 lead.

The Crew were not dead, however, and would grab one back in spectacular fashion. In the 68thth minute, Ethan Finlay drove down the Timbers' left flank and clipped in a cross that fell to Federico Higuain. with the ball bouncing in front of him and his back to goal, Higuain hit an audacious bicycle kick that skipped past the dive of Adam Kwarasey and into the back of the net.

With the score now tied at one apiece, the match opened up, with the Crew pressing forward and the Timbers continuing to sprint down the pitch and hit them on the counter.

It was the Timbers for whom the chances would finally pay off when, in the 79th minute, Lucas Melano would get on the ball out on the left wing. Skipping around a defender as he cut inside, Melano hit a curling ball with the outside of his boot, playing Asprilla into space outside on the right. With time to settle the ball, Asprilla was able to hit a driven cross into the box that Clark got down to block, only to see it spin to Adi at the back post where the big man bundled the ball home for the game winning goal.

The Timbers play their next match on the road, heading to San Jose to take on the Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium next Sunday.