The Portland Timbers rescued a point in Providence Park after going down a goal and a man. Orlando City opened the scoring through Junior Urso, Josecarlos Van Rankin was sent off and Cristhian Paredes equalized from the penalty spot in a 1-1 draw.
The game started off as a cagey affair. The first half took quite some time to get rolling. Both teams took their time feeling each other out, with the Timbers finding their first real half-chances of the game from counter-attacking opportunities. Yimmi Chara and Santiago Moreno each had opportunities on the counter in the first half, but neither player was quite as decisive or technical enough to finish the move off, and the Orlando defense cleared the ball.
The clearest chance in the first half for the Timbers came in the 29th minute when a Josecarlos Van Rankin cross found the head of a diving Cristhian Paredes, but the attempt flashed just wide. Both teams went into the locker room goalless, in what was a choppy first 45 minutes.
The second half did not take long to have more highlights than the first as Orlando opened the scoring in the 52nd minute. Alexandre Pato chipped a ball into the box, and Junior Urso snuck through the Portland backline to get on the end of it and tapped it home.
Portland’s attack woke up after the Timbers conceded. They found more and more chances as the second half went on. Spurred on by the introduction of Sebastian Blanco and the electric play of Santiago Moreno, Portland managed to get closer and closer.
The momentum looked to be sapped after Josecarlos Van Rankin was sent off after being shown a second yellow in the second half. But Cristhian Paredes won a penalty in the 79th minute and buried it down the middle a minute later to give the Timbers the equalizer.
A final flurry of action from the Timbers almost stole a win out of nothing, but Blanco’s final shot was kept out.
The dust settled with both teams sharing spoils at one goal apiece. It’s a testament to the Timbers’ resiliency to fight back after going down a man, and a reminder of how much of an impact their star player, Sebastian Blanco, can make when he’s on the field.
- The first half was scant of many clear chances or highlights. Portland wasn’t able to fully break down Orlando’s defense, and the visitors weren’t able to show enough lethality with their own opportunities to open the scoring.
- 13’ The first half-chance of the game came on a counter for the Timbers. Yimmi Chara was sprung in behind, but the Orlando defense recovered well and cleared the ball off of Chara. Santiago Moreno had his follow-up attempt blocked.
- 15’ Santiago Moreno had a chance on the counter and cut inside at the top of the box. His pass through was meant for Yimmi Chara, but the pass was long and Orlando's keeper Stajduhar collected it.
- 29’ The Timbers came close to opening the scoring as they moved the ball around well in a patient passing buildup. Van Rankin whipped in a great cross right in front of the goal, but Paredes’ diving header flew just wide of the goal.
- The first half ended with both teams registering only five shots, and Portland didn’t manage to get any of theirs on target.
- The second half opened up with the Timbers still trying to find the gaps in Orlando’s defense, and finding no more luck than they did in the first half.
- 52’ Orlando City did have more luck, as they made it 1-0 in their favor. A ball into the box cleared by Dario Zuparic was collected by Orlando, and they worked the ball to the feet of Alexandre Pato. The Brazilian chipped a ball into the box, and Orlando midfielder Junior Urso ghosted past all of Portland’s backline to get on the end of the ball right in front of goal and made no mistake.
- 56’ Portland’s attack woke up a bit after the goal. Moreno nearly got on the end of a ball in the box after a nice passing move from the Timbers. Orlando did just enough to clear the ball off of his foot.
- 57’ Moreno again collected the ball and went on a scintillating run through the Orlando defense. Good interplay with Niezgoda and Yimmi Chara had the ball at the feet of Chara in the box, but he couldn’t get his shot away.
- 62’ Sebastian Blanco subbed on for Dairon Asprilla
- 64’ Blanco’s influence was felt almost immediately. A very pretty team move ended in a backheel laid off for Blanco at the top of the box, but his low shot was saved.
- 72’ Moreno again tried to spark the Portland attack, as he went on a blazing run through the midfield, riding multiple challenges. He laid the ball off for Niezgoda, who worked around his man and got a low cross off. It was too close to Orlando's keeper however and he collected.
- 76’ In a moment of questionable defending, Josecarlos Van Rankin was shown a second yellow card for pulling back Alexandre Pato on the counter and was subsequently sent off.
- 79’ Things turned around very quickly for the Timbers, as Paredes won a penalty after being tripped up in the box.
- 80’ Paredes stepped up, kept his nerve, and made no mistake. He sent the ball right down the middle to finally find the equalizer for the 10-men Timbers.
- 84’ Zac McGraw and the Timbers defense did well to defend a quick strike Orlando corner and put enough pressure on the subsequent follow-up to force it wide.
- 86’ Eryk Williamson came on to replace Santiago Moreno.
- 90’+2 Timbers were under a lot of pressure late in the game, but Zac McGraw again did well to impose himself physically and clear multiple crosses into the box.
- 90+3’ Pablo Bonilla and Blake Bodily came on for Yimmi Chara and Jaroslaw Niezgoda.
- 90’+5 A final flurry from the Timbers nearly ended in the Timbers stealing the win, as Blanco had a chance in the box sent toward the far post. The Orlando keeper did just enough to get down and keep the ball out.
The match ended 1-1 as the Timbers came back to earn a point. Portland are back in action on Sunday, April 3 against the LA Galaxy. Kick off in Providence Park is slated for 1:30 p.m. (Pacific).