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Portland Timbers Come Undone in 4-1 Loss to Toronto FC

MLS: Portland Timbers at Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers started off strong against Toronto FC, but folded late in the 4-1 loss as the home side picked apart and totally unravelled their back line.

The Timbers came to Toronto looking to shut down the Reds’ high powered attack and they were able to for the first sixty minutes of the match. A compact formation, committed defending, and some timely interventions from Diego Chara kept the Timbers in the match and provided them a platform from which to break down the pitch in the early going.

The result was a lion’s share of the possession going to Toronto in the first half as the Timbers absorbed pressure and hit out on the counter. The shots, however, were close to even at the halftime whistle as the Timbers put three of their four shots on goal and Toronto managed only one of their five.

The Timbers early defensive success came despite a 15th minute injury to Jake Gleeson when the Timbers’ No. 1 keeper came up holding his hamstring after a scramble to gather up a bouncing ball in the box. Gleeson’s replacement, Jeff Attinella, looked nervous at first as he made his first appearance since June, but soon took control of the Timbers box.

That defensive strength would last until the 58th minute when a defensive misstep from Alvas Powell gifted Toronto the opening goal. A looping cross into the box dropped to Powell and the Timbers full back tried to chest the ball down, only to see it run away from him. Toronto left back Justin Morrow was the first on the scene, gathering up the ball and roofing a hard shot over Attinella from point blank range.

Toronto looked good for a second in the 67th minute as Giovinco slipped a ball in behind the Timbers back line for the run of Altidore. Getting on the ball, Altidore tried to slip the ball past Attinella only for the Timbers keeper to get down a touch the ball and force it to roll wide of the post.

Attinella’s save was only a temporary reprieve, however, as Toronto would get their second minutes later in the 72nd minute. Toronto found Giovinco on the run down the right where the diminutive playmaker was able to find space and slip a simple ball into the center of the box for the run of Victor Vasquez. With the Timbers defense trying to recover in his wake, Vasquez only had to take a first time shot to place the ball around Attinella for the close range finish.

With the Timbers scrambling to get back in the match, the floodgates were now open and Toronto grabbed their third goal of the match in the 76th minute. For the second time it was Morrow capitalizing on a moment of weakness from the Timbers. This time the ball came spinning off the boot of Larrys Mabiala after an attempted block and fell nicely to Morrow to once again hammer the ball home.

In the 87th minute, the final wheel fell off for the Timbers as Toronto scored their fourth goal of the match. As Toronto broke down the pitch, Mabiala tackled the ball away only to see it bounce to Reds midfielder Marky Delgado, trailing the play. With the ball at his feet and the Timbers bamboozled, Delgado hit a strong shot past Attinella to make the scoreline 4-0.

The Timbers would not leave Toronto without a consolation goal and of course it was Diego Valeri who scored it for them, putting the side on the scoresheet in the 89th minute. As the Timbers threw everything forward in hopes of turning an embarrassment into just a very, very bad game, Valeri got on the ball outside the Toronto box with four defenders around him. Juking and weaving his way through the crowd, Valeri somehow emerged with the ball inside the Toronto box before tucking a placed shot past Reds keeper Alex Bono to bring the score to 4-1.

The Timbers are back in action on Friday when they will host the New York Red Bulls at Providence Park.