In what would prove to be the final 90-plus minutes of their Concacaf Champions League run, the Portland Timbers fell to Club America in the second leg 3-1. The loss put the Timbers down 4-2 in aggregate, knocking them out of CCL play.
The Timbers generated some early chances to start the match. They oscillated between building slowly out of the back — putting extra players in the midfield to make passes easier to connect on — and quickly going into transition. Transition is where players like Yimmi Chara thrive, so it was smart to get him going in such a fashion.
America looked like a team on a mission offensively. They found the gaps in the Timbers defense and also used the sideline effectively to create numerous early chances. Portland played “bumper car” defense mixed with “pinball” defense in the box (as our tweeting machine Sam Svilar put it), making for some ... stressful moments in the box to say the least.
Jeff Attinella did all he could in the goal to prevent scoring, but it could only last for so long. In the 21st minute, Mauro Lainez of Club America took the ball down the left side of the pitch and launched a pinpoint cross to Federico Vinas. Vinas put a header where Attinella couldn’t reach in the top-right corner, giving America a 1-0 lead.
⚽️ ¡Gol de Federico Viñas!@ClubAmerica aumenta su ventaja desde el punto penal. | #SCCL21 pic.twitter.com/VWatM1FvUU— Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League (@TheChampions) May 6, 2021
While America continued to find shot after shot, the Timbers once again went without anything. Diego Valeri was not as sharp on long balls and passes as he usually is, and it showed in set pieces especially. The Timbers would not get off a single shot in the first half for the second time in the series, leaving them down 1-0 after 45 minutes.
The second half started in just about the wildest fashion. Not even a minute into the half, Felipe Mora found a chance at the top of the box and launched it, but it was saved by Guillermo Ochoa.
Even though it it was saved, it seemed to be a good omen for a Timbers team that struggled to create chances in the first. Now Portland was finding their way in the attacking third, actually creating shots for themselves. Yimmi Chara even had a curler in the 53rd minute that looked like it had a good shot of finding the back of the net, but it was no good.
Things got difficult for Portland in the 55th minute. Claudio Bravo committed a foul in the box that led to a penalty — the second time he’d done so in this series. After a VAR review confirmed the call, Vinas stepped up to take the shot and converted the penalty, making it 2-0 America.
But the Timbers were finally able to get on the board in the 64th minute, making things much more interesting. Mora drew a foul in the penalty area on Luis Fuentes, giving Portland its best chance at digging into Club America’s lead. Cool, calm, and collected, Diego Valeri stepped up to the ball for the penalty and put it over Ochoa into the top-left corner. That cut America’s lead to 2-1, meaning another goal for Portland would have made it a 3-3 tie in aggregate in favor of the Timbers.
Diego Valeri cool as can be.#SCCL21 | #RCTID pic.twitter.com/PLlbCbLJog— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) May 6, 2021
In the 70th minute, Club America threw a wrench in that plan. After someone played a long ball to Leonardo Suarez down the right of the pitch, Suarez dribbled back to the top of the box. With Bravo and Diego Chara trying their best to stop him, Suarez launched a shot that was just outside of Attinella’s reach, sneaking the ball into the bottom-left corner to make it 3-1 America.
⚽️ ¡Golazo de Leonardo Suárez! @ClubAmerica 3-1 @TimbersFC | #SCCL21 pic.twitter.com/CQVgHsQdH3— Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League (@TheChampions) May 6, 2021
Portland would have plenty more chances, with eight shots and five shots on goal in the second half. Several attacking players created danger in the attacking third, but they just couldn’t finish those opportunities. Despite giving it their all, the Timbers would fall 3-1 in leg 2 and 4-2 in the aggregate.