With a playoff berth on the line, the Portland Timbers (11-13-9) concede in stoppage time to lose 2-1 to Supporter’s Shield winners LAFC (21-4-8).
The Timbers made several changes to the starting XI that has been used during their five-game unbeaten run, the most notable being Juan David Mosquera earning his first start for the Timbers since his Summer arrival. Giovanni Savarese also opted for Larrys Mabiala at the back in place of the in-form Zac McGraw, and Cristhian Paredes over Eryk Williamson.
Rose City Ready @mcdonalds x #RCTID pic.twitter.com/uJzwTxIKtb— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) October 2, 2022
Both teams failed to muster many chances on goal in a cagey first half, and at the break the score remained 0-0. However, that wouldn’t remain the case for much longer, as LAFC talisman Carlos Vela opened the scoring with a beautiful strike six minutes into the second half.
Dairon Asprilla would go on to level the score with a diving header in the 82nd minute following a beautiful cross from Claudio Bravo to make it 1-1. LAFC thought they had a penalty in the 87th minute of the match after Kwadwo Opoku went down in the box under a challenge from Bravo, but after a long VAR check nothing was given.
Four minutes into stoppage time, Denis Bouanga would break Timbers hearts and score the game-winner, clinching the Supporter’s Shield for LAFC.
- 3’ Dairon Asprilla nearly got the Timbers off to the perfect start after just three minutes with a header from inside the box on a beautiful delivery from Claudio Bravo, but couldn’t direct his attempt on target.
- 5’ Aljaz Ivacic was called into action for the first time in the fifth minute, reacting quickly to get his hand on a low snapshot from LAFC striker Denis Bouanga.
- 32’ LAFC threatened the Timbers with a well-worked move that saw the ball eventually make its way to Bouanga in the box, but a great piece of defending from Mabiala limited him to an underpowered shot as he was falling to the ground.
- 33’ Moments later Carlos Vela sprung to life, taking the ball around Ivacic and sending a powerful shot on-frame. Luckily for the Timbers, Claudio Bravo was alert to the danger and cleared the ball off the line with his head.
This clearance from Claudio #RCTID pic.twitter.com/6AyHxGFctu— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) October 2, 2022
- 45+1’ Kellyn Acosta nearly put LAFC in front just before halftime after ghosting into the box behind Dario Zuparic, but Ivacic again was able to quickly react to Acosta’s attempted chip with a leaping save.
The score remained 0-0 at the end of a choppy and toughly-contested first half.
- 46’ The Timbers had a golden opportunity to make it 1-0 moments after the start of the second half, after Claudio Bravo launched a counter with a strong challenge in their own half. Bravo then crossed the ball to Niezgoda in the box, whose attempt to link-up with Moreno proved to be one pass too many and the chance came to nothing.
- 48’ YELLOW CARD Cristhian Paredes was shown a yellow card for a foul in the middle of the pitch.
- 49’ Niezgoda had a left-footed strike from the edge of the box saved by Maxim Crepeau after more great work from Claudio Bravo down the left side of the pitch.
- 51’ GOAL LAFC, 1-0 Carlos Vela, in typical Carlos Vela fashion, curled a beautiful left-footed shot past Ivacic from the edge of the box to make it 1-0 to LAFC. The writing was on the wall after the Timbers failed to close Vela down a few times in the first half, and he made them pay with a perfect strike.
- 53’ LAFC nearly doubled their lead two minutes later after a well-worked passage of play between Vela and Christian Arango saw Mabiala nearly put a clearance into his own net.
- 56’ Santiago Moreno had a chance to equalize for the Timbers five minutes after LAFC’s opener, but the pass from Asprilla was too hot to handle for a first-time shot which allowed the LAFC backline to close down the strike.
- 63’ YELLOW CARD Dario Zuparic was shown a yellow card for dragging Bouanga back to stop an LAFC counterattack. The caution card meant Zuparic will be suspended for Portland’s regular season finale at Real Salt Lake next week.
- 70’ CROSSBAR Claudio Bravo rattled the crossbar with a leaping header on a pinpoint cross from Larrys Mabiala.
- 74’ Claudio Bravo tested Crepeau with a right-footed shot from distance that the LAFC ‘keeper awkwardly palmed to safety.
- 74’ SUBSTITUTION Yimmi Chara and Eryk Williamson entered the match, replacing Jaroslaw Niezgoda and Cristhian Paredes.
- 82’ GOAL TIMBERS, 1-1 Dairon Asprilla, Mr. October himself, thumped a diving header past Crepeau to bring the Timbers level in the 82nd minute. Claudio Bravo curled an inch-perfect cross into the box from the left wing, and Asprilla finished with aplomb.
Mr. October. That is all.@daironasprilla x #RCTID pic.twitter.com/286rKQBEQG— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) October 2, 2022
- 86’ SUBSTITUTION Sebastian Blanco replaced Santiago Moreno for the final four minutes plus stoppage time.
- 87’ LAFC thought they had a penalty late in the match after a coming together between Mabiala and Opoku, but after a long VAR check, nothing was given.
- 90+4’ GOAL LAFC, 2-1 Denis Bouanga put LAFC back in front deep into stoppage time with a wonderful solo effort that saw him nutmeg both Zuparic and Tuiloma on his was to scoring the eventual winner.
The match ended 2-1 in favor of LAFC, meaning the Timbers will need a result away at Real Salt Lake on the final game of the season to secure a playoff spot. The Timbers close out their season with an away trip to Real Salt Lake, with kickoff from Rio Tinto scheduled for 2 p.m. PST on Sunday, Oct. 9.