PORTLAND, OREGON – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5W-2L-5D) have their first-ever win over Portland Timbers (3W-4L-7D) in Major League Soccer.
After going down 1-0 in the third minute, the ‘Caps scored four straight goals before holding on for a thrilling 4-3 win in a heated Cascadia derby Sunday evening at Providence Park.
Chilean Pedro Morales scored his team-leading fourth and fifth goals of the season, both from the penalty spot, before Erik Hurtado and Jordan Harvey added a pair of insurance markers – goals that would prove vital after the Timbers manufactured a late comeback attempt.
Morales, the Budweiser Man of the Match, was involved in all four of Vancouver’s goals. With a pair of assists, the first-year Designated Player increased his team-leading tally to five on the season – just one shy of the league leader.
Though Morales stole the show, Hurtado also put in another strong performance. The second-year striker, who grew up in the Portland area, now has goals in four straight matches in all competitions.
The win extends Vancouver’s unbeaten run to six straight league fixtures, which ties the club’s MLS record, and ends Portland’s six-match unbeaten streak in the process. It also gives the ‘Caps back-to-back road wins for the first time since joining MLS in 2011.
If that wasn’t enough, Whitecaps FC become the first team to beat Portland at Providence Park (formerly JELD-WEN Field) in an MLS regular season affair since March 9, 2013 – a span of 22 matches over nearly 15 months.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson didn’t make any changes to his starting lineup after last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC. Unlike last weekend, however, the ‘Caps didn’t get off to the start they were looking for in their second straight Cascadia derby. The Timbers came out on the front foot and took an early advantage.
It took Portland just three minutes to find the back of the net, as in-form striker Maximiliano Urruti found some space in midfield and drilled a curling 22-yard strike into the top left corner of the goal.
There wasn’t much Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted could have done on that play, but the Dane was called upon minutes later and was up to the challenge.
In the seventh minute, Ousted dove to his right and stymied a deflected Will Johnson effort from the centre of the box to keep Portland’s advantage at 1-0.
Their lead wouldn’t last long.
Morales equalized from the penalty spot in the 16th minute after Hurtado beat Diego Chara into the box before getting clipped from behind.
The Timbers came within inches of regaining the advantage in the 19th minute, but Urruti headed a corner off the crossbar – a miss that proved costly.
From there, it seemed Robinson’s side began to settle in and start playing their game.
The likes of Hurtado, Sebastian Fernandez, and Kekuta Manneh caused problems for the Timbers back line with their speed and movement. And the latter two combined to draw another penalty in the 26th minute – the league-high eighth penalty Portland has conceded this season.
Morales once again calmly slotted home the spot kick to give Whitecaps FC their first lead of the game. And they didn’t stop there.
The ‘Caps had at least three more chances in the first half, including a near-miss from Morales in the 37th minute. Finally, after an extended spell of possession, they added to their lead in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time.
This time, Morales played the role of distributor, as he found Hurtado in the box with a low cross from the right corner. Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made a sprawling save off Hurtado’s first attempt, but the hometown boy tapped home his own rebound to give Vancouver a two-goal advantage heading into halftime.
The intensity level seemed to drop a level in the second half, after a heated first half that saw referee Kevin Stott hand out three yellow cards and two penalties.
Morales was still very involved for the Blue and White, however. And in the 49th minute, the Chilean switched the ball to Harvey, who took a touch into the box before firing home his second goal of the season.
To their credit, the Timbers threw everything forward after surrendering a fourth goal, forcing Ousted into a pair of timely saves on substitute Fanendo Adi.
Portland managed to make a game out of it with late goals from substitute Gaston Fernandez and Johnson, but Whitecaps FC held on their fifth win of the season in a nail-biter at Providence Park.
Vancouver’s last match before the league’s World Cup break is set for next Saturday, June 7 against Eastern Conference side Philadelphia Union. The Blue and White aren’t back at BC Place until June 25, when they host longtime Canadian rival Montreal Impact. Tickets are still available atwhitecapsfc.com/tickets.
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets ($220), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Pedro Morales
Referee: Kevin Stott
3’ – POR – Maximiliano Urruti (Diego Valeri)
16’ – VAN – Pedro Morales (penalty kick)
26’ – VAN – Pedro Morales (penalty kick)
45’ + 4 – VAN – Erik Hurtado (Pedro Morales, Matias Laba)
49’ – VAN – Jordan Harvey (Pedro Morales)
77’ – POR – Gaston Fernandez (Diego Valeri)
86’ – POR – Will Johnson (Fanendo Adi)
Shots: Portland 18 – Vancouver 23
Shots on Goal: Portland 8 – Vancouver 11
Saves: Portland 7 – Vancouver 5
Fouls: Portland 12 – Vancouver 13
Offsides: Portland 1 – Vancouver 2
Corners: Portland 8 – Vancouver 4
28’ – VAN – Kekuta Manneh
45’ – VAN – Sebastian Fernandez
45’ – POR – Pa Modou Kah
90’ + 3 – VAN – Pedro Morales
1.Donovan Ricketts; 13.Jack Jewsbury, 31.Rauwshan McKenzie, 44.Pa Modou Kah, 19.Jorge Villafana (11.Kalif Alhassan 77’); 21.Diego Chara, 4.Will Johnson; 6.Darlington Nagbe, 8.Diego Valeri, 7.Steve Zakuani (9.Fanendo Adi 57’); 37.Maximiliano Urruti (10.Gaston Fernandez 66’)
Substitutes not used
33.Andrew Weber; 5.Michael Harrington, 17.Michael Nanchoff, 25.Danny O’Rourke
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 20.Nigel Reo-Coker, 40.Andy O’Brien, 6.Jay DeMerit, 2.Jordan Harvey; 28.Gershon Koffie,15.Matías Laba; 7.Sebastián Fernández (17.Omar Salgado 78’), 77.Pedro Morales, 23.Kekuta Manneh (31.Russell Teibert 45’); 19.Erik Hurtado (11.Darren Mattocks 66’)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 16.Johnny Leverón, 22.Christian Dean, 29.Nicolás Mezquida