The Portland Timbers scored first and scored last as they got back to winning ways today with a 4-2 win over their Cascadia rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Timbers have made a habit of scoring early in recent matches and this one was no different. After some high pressure in the 4th minute caused the Whitecaps to cough up the ball, the Timbers looked to find Jack McInerney on the run through the Vancouver box. Getting on the ball, McInerney looked to get around his man, Pa Modou Kah, only for Kah to go for a slide tackle, getting the man instead of the ball just inside the box.
After conferring with his linesman, referee Ted Unkle pointed to the spot and Diego Valeri stepped up for the Timbers. With a quick run-up, the Maestro hit a hard, high penalty that left Whitecaps keeper David Ousted waving at the air as it rippled the back of the net.
The Timbers would strike again in the 29th minute as they continued hitting the Whitecaps on the break. Some fancy footwork from Ben Zemanski allowed the holding midfielder to set Lucas Melano free down the right flank. With McInerney again streaking into the Vancouver box, Melano hit a low, rolling cross that was tantalizingly close to Kendall Waston, but squeaked through to the Timbers' forward. With a quick touch around the off-balance defender, McInerney hit a low shot that tucked just inside the far post and gave the Timbers a 2-0 lead.
The Whitecaps were not out of the match there, however, and capitalized on a strong showing to start the second half. In the 49th minute the Whitecaps had the Timbers under pressure and worked the ball to the top of the Timbers box. After it was poked away from the feet of Christian Bolanos, the ball bounced into the path of Kekutah Manneh, who fired off a quick shot. Nat Borchers quickly dove in front of the ball for the block, only to see it arch off him, then up and over the dive of Jake Gleeson for Vancouver's opener.
The Timbers would regain their two goal lead in the 78th minute as they pushed down the pitch once again. Getting the ball out wide to Valeri on the left, the Maestro hit a low cross into the Vancouver box, only to see it deflected up and into the waving arm of Kah, causing Unkle to again point to the spot. This time it was substitute Dairon Asprilla who stepped up to the spot, hammering a hard shot past Ousted to put the Timbers up 3-1.
Another goal would come only four minutes later as Valeri was taken down on the edge of the Whitecaps box. This time the foul was called outside the box, but it would make little difference as Darlington Nagbe stepped up to the dead ball. Hitting a perfectly placed, curling ball just inside the near post, Nagbe pushed the Timbers lead to three.
The Whitecaps would get one back in the 84th minute after Octavio Rivero went down in the Timbers box and Pedro Morales converted the ensuing penalty, but from there on the Timbers salted out the match for the win.
Of course, the final minutes of the match were not without their moments, capped off after the final whistle blew when Waston slide, two-footed, into the heels of Asprilla. As the Timbers and Whitecaps engaged in a shoving match, Unkle showed the red to Waston for the dangerous tackle.
The Timbers will play again on Saturday the 28th as they head to Chicago to take on the Fire.