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Portland Timbers Shut Out New York City FC in 3-0 Victory

Head coach Giovanni Saravese reacts during Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC. 4/22/18
Bennett Dewan

The Portland Timbers put in a commanding defensive performance and a counter-attacking clinic as they took down the formerly league-leading New York City FC 3-0 at Providence Park.

From the outset, NYCFC were holding possession, but the Timbers were generating chances.

In the third minute, the Timbers were able to cut out a City pass in the midfield and go on the break. A smart step in the midfield saw Sebastian Blanco get on the ball with space in front of him and Adi running alongside. As Adi curved his run out wide, drawing away the New York defense, Blanco cut inside and found space to take a shot, only to send his attempt up and over the bar.

Blanco came close again just two minutes later, getting on the end of an Andres Flores ball into the New York box during a rare moment of possession for the Timbers. As the ball fell to him, Blanco took a shot on the volley, but scuffed it and put the ball just wide of the post.

As the half continued on, possession remained difficult to come by for the Timbers, but when they were able to get on the ball they worked it forward quickly and dangerously.

The Timbers were finally able to crack through the New York defense in the 26th minute. After a throw in deep in the visitors’ end, Alvas Powell was able to drop a pass back to Flores at the top of the box. As he had done repeatedly in the early going, Flores sent a chipped cross toward the back post and again he found Blanco, rising up over New York full back Anton Tinnerholm for a looping header toward the back post. With City keeper Sean Johnson rooted to his line, the ball dropped just under the bar to give the Timbers the 1-0 lead.

The goal seemed to wake up NYCFC and the visitors redoubled their efforts in possession and began to work the ball around the Timbers box, committing even more to the attack.

However, the increased pressure did not keep the Timbers from again getting out on the break in the 38th minute. After working the ball out wide to Diego Valeri, the Maestro hit a hard, low shot that forced Sean Johnson to sprawl out and make a save, knocking the ball away from goal. The rebound fell nicely into the path of Adi, crashing the goal at the back post, and the Timbers’ striker was able to simply tap the ball home into an open net.

New York almost pulled one back late in the first half as they put together a pair of dangerous chances. First, referee Ted Unkle waved play-on after a foul outside the Timbers’ box saw the ball trickle forward to the feet of David Villa, who was able to turn and fire off a near post shot that Jeff Attinella had to get down quickly to save. On the ensuing corner kick, former Timber Rodney Wallace dove through traffic to head the ball toward goal, only to put his attempt high.

After another long period of New York dominating possession, the Timbers again made the most of their chances, grabbing a third goal in the 66th minute. After earning a corner on a quick break down the pitch, Diego Valeri served in a spot kick that fell to Larrys Mabiala at the top of the six yard box. Uncontested, Mabiala flew in for a powerful header that Johnson could only watch as it hit the back of the net.

Now deep in a hole, New York continued to push for a goal but rarely looked dangerous and were ultimately held scoreless by the Timbers.

The Timbers have a bye week and will be back in action on May 5th when they travel to California to take on the San Jose Earthquakes.