In the first of two legs in the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals, the Portland Timbers drew Club America in exciting fashion 1-1 at Providence Park. Roger Martinez scored the first goal at the end of the first half off the penalty kick, while Felipe Mora scored the equalizer off a penalty in the waning minutes of stoppage time.
The Timbers went back to the starting XI employed in the first three games, after opting for rotation last match against the Houston Dynamo. Most notably, Diego Valeri, Eryk Williamson, and Felipe Mora made their returns to the starting lineup, while Jeff Attinella made the start in the goal for Portland. Jeremy Ebobisse, Steve Clark, and Sebastian Blanco were still out for this one.
Portland started the game with energy, acting quick on the counterattack. They were making a deliberate effort to try and get on the board early and set the tone, much like they did against CD Marathon. But Club America is a much different beast than Marathon, and they did well to fend them off. Most Portland crosses were aimed toward either Mora or the goal, but all they found were Club America defenders as the Timbers failed to get off a single shot.
America dominated possession for much of the first half, methodically working their way through the attacking third and creating numerous chances for themselves. America also did well to take advantage of some poorly executed passes by Portland’s midfield. Some key saves from Attinella helped keep Portland from conceding a goal.
Unfortunately for Portland, the run of luck couldn’t last forever. America drove their way to Portland’s side of the field and drew a foul in the box by Claudio Bravo for a penalty kick. Roger Martinez completed the penalty with ease to make it 1-0 for the Liga MX side at the end of the first.
Portland came out of the locker room at halftime with a sense of urgency. After generating few chances in the first half, the Timbers came out firing shot after shot. But no matter how many shots they fired, nothing was finding the back of the net, not even this spectacular chip from Dairon Asprilla.
This proved to be the theme of the second half; the Timbers would either create a bunch of chances or take advantage of America’s mistakes to to get incredibly close to a goal, but nothing was coming to fruition ... right up until the end.
In the 95th minute, chaos ensued in Club America’s box, with the Timbers doing anything and everything to try and score a goal, and they found their saving grace in a handball committed by Club America in the box. That gave Portland a penalty shot — a shot that Felipe Mora would zip right into the goal, giving Portland the 1-1 draw.
Next up, the Timbers will play FC Dallas on Saturday, May 1 in Frisco, TX. Kick-off is set for 5 p.m. PST.