The Portland Timbers finished out their preseason invitational with a win, beating the Vancouver Whitecaps comfortably despite the close 2-1 scoreline.
The Timbers took it to the visiting Whitecaps for early on in the match, dominating possession and creating a series of chances with their sharp passing and interplay.
After a handful of close calls from distance, the Timbers opened the scoring in the 26th minute as the side worked the ball down the left flank. With Vytas making an overlapping run down the touch line, Darlington Nagbe played a simple ball down the line for his full back. Running onto the ball Vytas hit a first-time cross into the box, perfectly weighted for the run of Diego Valeri. Trailing the Vancouver back line, Valeri had ample room to place his header, skipping the ball off the turf and past the dive of David Ousted for the opening.
In a nearly identical move, the Timbers would increase their lead just two minutes later, again working the ball down the left flank in the 28th minute. This time, however, Vytas kept his cross low, curling the ball to the foot of Fanendo Adi. The Timbers’ big man made no mistake with the service, striking the ball first-time for the near post finish.
As the game continued, possession stayed with the Timbers and the Whitecaps ratcheted up their pressure and physicality in an attempt to get back in the match.
Although the Whitecaps looked like they might be on the verge of taking the fight to the Timbers, a wave of fresh legs from the Timbers substitutes had the Whitecaps once again on their heels late in the match.
Things got scary for the Timbers in the 77th minute as Valeri took a hard clearance from Vancouver full back Sheanon Williams to the face, going down to the pitch. After a minute of attention from the Timbers’ trainers, Valeri was up on his feet and ushered off the pitch.
The Whitecaps would pull a goal back shortly thereafter as Rennico Clarke was called for a foul just outside the Timbers’ eighteen yard box. With the free kick lined up in a dangerous spot, Whitecaps forward Cristian Techera hit a curling free kick that snuck just inside the upper ninety to pull the Whitecaps back within one.
The goal would not be enough, however, as the Timbers would see out the rest of the match without incident, securing the 2-1 victory.
The Timbers play again on Saturday the 25th as the finish out their preseason with an away match against the LA Galaxy.