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Portland Timbers Start Bad, End Worse in 4-0 Loss to New York Red Bulls

MLS: Portland Timbers at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers went to the East Cost in search of three points but left all three behind on Saturday night, along with their dignity, after losing 4-0 to a New York Red Bulls B-team.

Coming into the night’s match, Giovanni Saravese made significant changes to the starting XI, bringing in four new players that did not get the start against the Galaxy last weekend. Most startling was Samuel Armenteros in the XI at forward in place of Fanendo Adi.

The Timbers changes could not keep the Red Bulls from charging out of the gates and the home side were able to open the scoring in the 18th minute. After turning the Timbers over in their own half, the Red Bulls sliced and diced their way through the Timbers back line. A give and go pass set Derrick Etienne running at the Timbers back line before knocking a simple pass to new Red Bulls designated player Kaku on the overlap. From there, Kaku slipped a low cross across the face of goal and into the path of 17-year-old Ben Mines for the first-time finish.

The Red Bulls would have another chance in the 24th minute, when a loose ball rolled past Larrys Mabiala and into the Timbers’ box. Red Bulls striker Carlos Rivas was first to the ball and managed to snap off a shot, but Jake Gleeson was quick to close him down and made the crucial stop.

As the half progressed, the Timbers were not quite able to shake off their slow start, misplaying passes and struggling to put together any major chances. What moments the side did have came on the break as they looked to set Armenteros and Asprilla free on the run behind the Red Bulls back line. In the 30th minute, Asprilla played in Armenteros and the Timbers’ Swedish striker was able to get in on goal, but strong positioning from Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles forced Armenteros to put his shot wide.

As the second half began, the Timbers began to assert themselves on the match and in the 63rd minute Asprilla was almost able to pull the sides even. An early cross from Zarek Valentin dropped directly to Asprilla in the box where he rose up and sent a header toward the far post, only for Robles to lay out and make the save, preserving the Red Bulls’ lead.

With the Timbers looking for the equalizer, the Red Bulls brought in reinforcements to lock the game down and in the 77th minute it was substitute and all-time Red Bulls leading goal-scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips who would extend the lead to 2-0. Off a Vincent Bezecourt corner kick, Sean Davis flicked a ball across the face of goal to BWP who found a foot of separation from Fanendo Adi and nodded a header past Gleeson for the goal.

The second goal set the Timbers reeling and just two minutes later, with the Timbers still trying to catch their breath, New York got their third. Breaking quickly down the pitch, Bezecourt found Rivas making a back-post run. The Colombian forward brought the ball down and hit a placed shot back across the face of goal and tucked into the side netting to give the Red Bulls a 3-0 lead.

Adding insult to injury, the Red Bulls scored one more in the final minute of stoppage time when Connor Lade found Rivas in the box for a back post tap in while the Timbers’ defense looked on helplessly.

The Timbers continue their road trip on Saturday the 24th with a match against FC Dallas after a week off for the upcoming international dates.