Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Timbers 1 - 1 NYCFC
Evander scored and Felipe returned, but the Timbers fail to win for the second time this week.
The Portland Timbers (5-7-8) drew 1-1 with NYCFC (4-9-7) in an MLS Cup final rematch, failing to hold on to a 1-0 lead they took into halftime.
Juan Mosquera returned to the lineup for the first time since June 11 after returning from international duty with Colombia, and Aljaz Ivacic got the nod in net for the first time since June 3 after his own whirlwind stint with Slovenia.
Larrys Mabiala replaced Zac McGraw (away with Canada for the Gold Cup) in the starting XI, and Marvin Loria was given the start in place of an underperforming and injured Dairon Asprilla. Felipe Mora also made his return from injury, albeit off the bench.
Unlike Wednesday’s 2-1 loss against the Chicago Fire, the Timbers actually started the match well and created a host of chances in the first half. One of their seven first half shots was finally put away by Evander in the 38th minute, smashing home a layoff from Marvin Loria.
However the Timbers’ set-piece defending reared its ugly head again as NYCFC equalized in the 51st minute, with Juan Mosquera failing to follow the run of Keaton Parks as he headed home at the near-post from a corner.
The Timbers finished the match with 16 shots, seven of which on-goal, but couldn’t convert any of their second half chances into a game winner as the match finished 1-1.
5’ Franck Boli got on the end of a cross from Cristhian Paredes, but the striker’s first-time finish skimmed off of his boot and over the bar.
11’ The Timbers had a pair of bites at the proverbial apple — one from Evander and another from Paredes — but the first shot was blocked and the second sailed wide of the net from inside the box.
28’ Mosquera got on the end of a Bravo cross that went untouched through the box, but sent a shot well over the goal.
38’ GOAL TIMBERS, 1-0 After a fairly boring first half, Evander popped up with something that was anything but. Paredes found Loria inside the box, and all the winger had to do was touch it into the path of Evander, who belted a right-footed shot into the top corner to open the scoring.
Check out Evander’s beautiful strike here.
45’ One additional minute was added for stoppage time.
HALFTIME: The Timbers led 1-0 at the break.
46’ SUBSTITUTION After playing heavy minutes in recent weeks, Cristhian Paredes was replaced by Noel Caliskan for the second half for his MLS debut. Savarese would reveal after the game that Paredes was experiencing a bit of hamstring tightness, and the sub was done with a precautionary mindset.
51’ GOAL NYCFC, 1-1 The visitors equalized just after halftime through Keaton Parks off of a set-piece. Mosquera left Caliskan out to dry, failing to follow Parks’ run at all as NYCFC made it 1-1.
69’ Boli latched on to a ball and drove toward the NYCFC defense with one of his signature runs, but Maxime Chanot timed a last-ditch slide tackle to perfection to quell the danger.
75’ Santi Moreno launched a counter and set Claudio Bravo in on goal down the left wing, but the fullback’s shot was easily saved.
76’ SUBSTITUTION Felipe Mora entered the match for Marvin Loria, making his long-awaited return from knee surgery.
77’ Mora nearly marked his return with an immediate goal, but NYCFC ‘keeper Freese was able to corral a deflected Evander strike just before Felipe got a toe to it.
86’ SUBSTITUTION Nathan Fogaca subbed in for Boli, who worked hard, but couldn’t reproduce his midweek goal this time out.
90+3’ Mosquera almost scored a full-volleyed winner at the death, but a touch from Freese was just enough to see his strike squirm wide of the net.
90+5’ Evander lined up a free-kick from outside the box as time expired, but the outside of the post denied the Brazilian a walk-off game-winner not dissimilar to the ones we’re used to seeing on the other side of the Willamette.
FULL TIME: Timbers 1 - 1 NYCFC
A very frustrated Giovanni Savarese couldn’t have described the match any better post-game: “It’s the same story every day: Played well, created chances, and… I don’t know what happened, they put something around the goal to not have it go in,” said Savarese. “The games are coming, we’re giving points away, and it’s gonna be too late.”
That is the unfortunate truth for the Timbers, who end the match on a paltry 22 points through 20 games having played two more games than the Vancouver Whitecaps in the final playoff spot on 25 points. It’s looking bleak for the Timbers’ playoff chances, and the team knows it.
They have to find a way to start scoring the chances they’re creating. Have to. Four goals in their last eight matches is nowhere near good enough, and an indictment on the players playing up top for the Timbers. Perhaps Felipe Mora’s return to fitness will bolster that area of the pitch, but the problem now is that there’s a logjam of forwards who are out-of-form and on a lot of money.
Another worry is the health of Cristhian Paredes, who was taken out of the game at halftime because of what Savarese described as hamstring pain. “I hope so” was his response to being asked if Paredes was alright after the game, with Diego Chara and Noel Caliskan the only other healthy central midfielders on the roster.
UP NEXT: The Timbers fly out to the Midwest for a match against the Loons. Kickoff against Minnesota United is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT at Allianz Field on Saturday, July 1.