The Portland Timbers earned a thrilling point on the road against Minnesota United in a game-of-the-year contender that finished 4-4. Goals from Sebastian Blanco, Jaroslaw Niezgoda, and an own goal for the Timbers, countered by a brace for Luis Amarilla and goals for Franco Fragapane and Bongokuhle Hlongwane were enough to see both sides share the points.
The absence of Eryk Williamson and Cristhian Paredes through injury meant a start for young David Ayala in midfield next to captain Diego Chara. Sebastian Blanco returned to the starting XI after serving a one-match suspension against San Jose last week, as did Santiago Moreno, who came off the bench to set up Asprilla’s winner.
An absolutely frantic start to the match saw Blanco open the scoring after just 13 seconds, before Minnesota put two goals past Aljaz Ivacic over the course of the next 20 minutes to go up 2-1. The Loons would compound the Timbers’ misery right before halftime through a Luis Amarilla goal that put them up 3-1 as the sides entered the break.
The Timbers would then pull a goal back through Blanco in the 50th minute, before Jaroslaw Niezgoda’s ninth goal of the season pulled the Timbers level at 3-3. The Timbers again took the lead through a Blanco-forced own-goal in the 65th minute, before a Luis Amarilla header just four minutes later concluded the scoring on the day.
- 1’ GOAL TIMBERS, 1-0 An incredible start to the match saw Sebastian Blanco sweep home a left-footed strike after just 13 seconds, assisted by Jaroslaw Niezgoda. Blanco’s goal was the fourth-fastest in MLS history.
- 9’ GOAL MINNESOTA, 1-1 Minnesota found a quick equalizer just eight minutes after the Timbers opened the scoring through Blanco. A corner was flicked on at the near-post to Franco Fragapane, who tucked the ball home completely unmarked at the back-post.
- 18’ Diego Chara was given a yellow card for a challenge on Emanuel Reynoso despite appearing to cleanly win the ball, and will miss the Timbers’ next match through suspension.
- 21’ GOAL MINNESOTA, 2-1 The Loons took the lead just after the 20th minute through Hlongwane, who smashed a rebound home after Fragapane struck the post with a low-shot. The Timbers’ backline completely broke down on the play, failing to track Fragapane’s run and not reacting quickly enough once the shot came back off the post.
- 30’ HYDRATION BREAK
- 34’ Hlongwane nearly made it 3-1 to the Loons after the ball fell to his feet in the middle of the box. Fortunately for the Timbers, his shot was straight at Ivacic in net.
- 36’ Blanco had a glorious chance to equalize for the Timbers after being found inside the box by David Ayala. But the Timbers’ talisman took a heavy first touch that took the ball wide, before blasting a ball over the bar.
- 41’ GOAL MINNESOTA, 3-1 Things went from bad to worse for the Timbers when Luis Amarilla picked up the ball in acres of space on the left wing, before turning Zuparic inside-out and curling a right-footed shot past Ivacic.
HALFTIME: At the end of the first half, the Timbers found themselves down 3-1 despite a perfect start to the match.
- 50’ GOAL TIMBERS, 3-2 The Timbers started the second half just as they did the first, as Blanco smashed a right-footed strike past St. Clair to pull a goal back for the Timbers. Moreno with the assist.
- 53’ GOAL TIMBERS, 3-3 Jaroslaw Niezgoda connected on a beautiful free-kick from Claudio Bravo to equalize just three minutes after Blanco’s second goal. It was a lovely flicked-header from Niezgoda, his ninth of the season.
- 65’ GOAL TIMBERS, 4-3 Sebastian Blanco picked up the ball on the right wing, before whipping a dangerous low cross into the box that St. Clair bundled into his own net. However, what looked to be Blanco’s third goal and first hattrick for the Timbers in MLS unfortunately was ruled an own-goal off of Kemar Lawrence.
- 69’ GOAL MINNESOTA, 4-4 Amarilla scored his own brace with a close range header after the Timbers’ backline failed to deal with a deep cross.
- 73’ David Ayala was shown a yellow card for a challenge on Fragapane.
- 74’ Josecarlos Van Rankin nearly put the Timbers ahead for the third time in the match, but St. Clair was able to make a flying save to deny his deflected shot.
- 76’ Dairon Asprilla entered the match in place of Yimmi Chara.
- 83’ Asprilla was shown a yellow card for a challenge on St. Clair as he tried to shepherd the ball back into his box. On replay it didn’t look like Asprilla even touched him, and the yellow means Asprilla will miss the Timbers next match through suspension.
- 88’ Marvin Loria entered the match for Blanco, who was cruelly denied a hat trick by the own goal.
- 90’ Felipe Mora entered the match for the goal-scorer Niezgoda.
- 90’ Eight minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the second half.
Despite several late chances on the counter-attack for the Timbers, the crazy game finished 4-4. The Timbers head back home to Portland for their next match against Nashville SC on Wednesday, August 3. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PST.