The Portland Timbers took down LAFC 2-1 at Providence Park thanks to a goal at the death from striker Felipe Mora. Diego Valeri scored the other goal for Portland while Carlos Vela had the lone score for LAFC.
Portland switched things up a bit with their starters. Diego Valeri rejoined the starting XI and George Fochive also started in the midfield. Bill Tuiloma also replaced Dario Zuparic — who was out due to yellow card accumulation — along the back line while Marvin Loria slotted into the wing.
The Timbers did not take long to score a very special goal. In the second minute of the match, Josecarlos Van Ranking floated a pass to Diego Valeri in the right side of the box. Valeri took control of the ball and calmly put it through Tomas Romero’s legs to the opposite side of the goal to score for Portland. That goal was the 100th goal of Valeri’s MLS career and also put the Timbers up 1-0 early.
After that goal, LAFC didn’t wait too long to respond, bouncing back in the 17th minute. Diego Rossi took control of the long ball and proceeded down the right side of the field. Rossi then played a perfect cross to former MVP Carlos Vela, who put it right past Steve Clark for the equalizer. It was 1-1 with just under 30 minutes left in the half.
LAFC looked like the stronger team for most of the first half. They didn’t handle the Timbers’ pressure well at first, but then found success just launching long balls over the top into the attacking third. They also did well to create mismatches for Vela against the Timbers’ back line. Fortunately, Portland survived the onslaught, keeping the match tied at one.
The second 45 began, and one Timber stood out in particular: Steve Clark. LAFC kept putting the pressure on the Timbers offensively, breaking through on numerous occasions, but Portland held strong thanks to the work done by Clark to prevent easy shots from going in. LAFC was putting together quality chances, but Clark did his best to make sure they couldn’t convert.
LAFC continued to dominate offensively. Portland shot themselves in the foot multiple times with a few bad giveaways in the midfield, allowing LAFC to rush the goal. The Timbers found opportunities of their own to push the ball downfield, but the crosses — both low and high — just weren’t quite connecting.
The match really started to ramp up as they sped to what would be a hectic finish. The insertion of Sebastian Blanco into the lineup gave Portland a much-needed boost offensively, with his passing playing a key role in keeping things connected. Felipe Mora also helped the Timbers significantly. Portland finally started to look dangerous for the first time since scoring the early goal.
Then at the death in the 93rd minute, it happened. Mora changed Portland’s fortunes in added time. Blanco played a beautiful ball to Mora in the box and the Chilean striker headed the ball all the way across the box and into the goal to give the Timbers the win at the death. Portland took it 2-1.
Next up, the Timbers will hit the road for their match against Minnesota United. The two teams will face off on Saturday, July 24 at 5 p.m. Pacific.