Even at home the Timbers can not find three points, finishing tonight’s match against the Chicago Fire in a 2-2 that saw the side control much of the match but give up two harsh goals en route to their fifth straight match without a win.
The Timbers struck first, opening the scoring in the 24th minute. A long diagonal ball into the Chicago box found the head of an airborne Dairon Asprilla. The Timbers winger rose up above his man to center the ball, finding Fanendo Adi at the spot. With defenders around him, Adi knocked the ball down only to see it bounce off the waving arm of Juninho, who had slipped in the box, giving referee Robert Sibiga no choice but to whistle for the penalty. This week it was Fanendo Adi who stepped up to the spot and, with a dip of his shoulder, sent Fire keeper Matt Lamson diving the wrong way as he rolled the ball into the back of the net.
The Fire would pull one back in the 34th minute. Pushing down the Timbers’ left, Arturo Alvarez sent a skipping back post cross into the box, looking for the outstretched boot of Nemanja Nikolic. Although Nikolic never made contact with the ball, the move was enough to flat-foot Jake Gleeson and the Timbers’ back line, who could only hang their heads as the ball a found the side netting.
The lead was almost restored in the 36th minute when Diego Valeri flashed a bicycle kick past the far post. After Lawrence Olum headed a ball to Valeri in the Chicago box, the Maestro chested the ball up in the air and went for the acrobatic shot, making good contact but putting his attempt just wide.
Chicago would find a lead of their own in the 61st minute. After a series of chance for the Timbers, the Fire got the ball down the pitch and once again at the feet of Alvarez out on the Timbers’ left. Alvarez sent a low ball zipping across the top of the Timbers’ box that evaded everyone before finding the feet of full back Brandon Vincent in space on the far flank. With time to steady himself, Vincent took a touch and unleashed a hard-hit strike that flew over the waving hand of Gleeson before crashing off the underside of the bar and in.
The Timbers were not yet out of the match, however, and in the 70th minute they pulled even. Pushing forward for the game-tying goal, Asprilla got a simple touch on the ball, putting it between two defenders and at the feet of Valeri, the Maestro. As defenders stepped to him, Valeri calmly slipped the ball forward to Sebastian Blanco, now in space in the Fire box. Touching the ball forward, Blanco hit a low, hard shot that splashed the back of the net, bringing the Timbers even at 2-2.
It even looked like the Timbers had managed to grab the game winner in the final minutes of the match as Adi rose up above a defender at the back post and headed home an arching-in cross, only for the referee to wave the goal off. Replay revealed a clear push from Adi on the defender.
The Timbers have a week off before returning Wednesday, July 19th, to host Real Salt Lake.