Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Timbers - 0 Minnesota United FC - 1
The Timbers suffer a heartbreaker at home as they lose at the death.
The Portland Timbers dropped a 1-0 decision at home to Minnesota United FC, as the Loons scored with the final kick of the game to steal three points from a sloppy and wasteful Timbers side that couldn’t find the back of the net for the second game running.
The Timbers played at home again after a draw against Real Salt Lake at Sandy, Utah. This time they hosted Minnesota, a team they were unbeaten against in their last three showdowns.
Coach Giovanni Savarese decided to put in the same lineup that he used against RSL, except for only one change: Dairon Asprilla got the start instead of Yimmi Chará.
Mind you, this game finished a string of three games in only eight days and it wasn’t surprising that the team showed a lack of swag in the attack given that most of them had accumulated 270 minutes of soccer in their legs. What was surprising, though, was how Portland finished without scoring despite some good chances — and that happened in the last minute of the match.
With Portland’s legs tired and Minnesota trying to kill the game off, they cleared the ball forward for Mender Garcia to race onto. He laid the ball off and it eventually found Bongokuhle Hlongwane, who somehow finished past three different Timbers defenders to score a very late winner for Minnesota in second half stoppage time.
11’ Santiago Moreno sends a cross from the right. The ball can’t get to Dairon Asprilla due to an interception.
12’ Opportunity for Minnesota and Zac McGraw clears that ball in a timely manner.
17’ Free kick for the Timbers. Joseph Rosales fouls Diego Chará and it’s a good opportunity to test Minnesota’s goalkeeper, Dayne St. Clair. The free kick ends in a corner that the visitors clear in the end.
19’ Flawless defensive work by D. Chará.
25’ Great save by Aljaž Ivačič!
28’ Another big save by Ivačič! Watch it here.
35’ Franck Boli makes his way inside the box but Hassani Dotson intervenes and sends the ball to the corner before the striker has a chance to shoot.
37’ Cross by Claudio Bravo that almost kisses the woodwork.
39’ Free kick for Portland and McGraw gets to head the ball but it goes wide.
44’ Bravo blocks a ball that was on frame and sends it to the corner.
The first half wasn’t what we expected from Portland playing at home. The Timbers had an expected goals number of just 0.31 with the biggest chance for them being Santiago Moreno’s shot in the 43’.
While for Minnesota (xG = 0.26) their most promising look happened at minute seven when Bongokuhle Hlongwane hit a ball from a corner with his chest but the ball didn’t even go on frame.
The second half brought the much anticipated regular season return of Sebastián Blanco to the field and a better showing from the Timbers, but the guys just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.
49’ Corner for the Timbers and it’s McGraw who heads that ball but the defense intervenes and intercepts his header.
50’ Good sliding tackle by Dario Župarić to prevent a Minnesota shot on frame.
56’ Decent chance for Portland and it’s Juan David Mosquera who shoots after Clair punches that ball. Unfortunately, he can’t direct it properly and sent it way too high and wide.
59’ Mosquera gets rid of his mark and sends a cross but Boli can’t connect with it.
60’ Dairon Asprilla fires but it gets blocked by the goalkeeper. Then it’s Bravo who gets the ball but the team can’t get another decent look in the rebound.
62’ McGraw gets a yellow. That’s his seventh of the season.
63’ Substitution: Yimmi Chará enters for Santiago Moreno and Jaroslaw Niezgoda enters for Boli.
65’ Evander hits the crossbar!
67’ Bravo is shown a yellow card.
72’ Evander shoots a difficult ball that Clair has to send to the corner with the tip of his gloves.
77’ Minnesota gets a corner and Christhian Paredes makes a save near the goalline. D. Chará helps to clear it after that.
79’ Substitution: Sebastián Blanco is back! He enters the game for Asprilla.
83’ Yellow card for Župarić, and he will miss the game against Sporting KC.
88’ Bravo shoots but it gets deflected.
90+4’ Minnesota scores. Hlongwane makes it 1-0 and the game finishes after that.
Minnesota didn’t do much attacking-wise in the second half, having no shots in the next 45 minutes. It wasn’t until the 90+2’ that they registered their first one fired by Ménder García (blocked by one of his teammates).
By that time, both teams looked gassed and it looked like the Timbers just wanted the game to end. Ivačič kept sending long passes and both teams kept lending the ball to each other. Until the 90+4’ when García tracked a long ball and the rest is history. Maybe Ivačič could’ve done more in the dying seconds of the match to prevent that goal, but it looked like the defense just wasn’t up to the task.
After this string of three games, the Timbers have reaped one win, one draw and one disappointing loss.
According to what coach Savarese said at the end of the game, there were a lot of good things they did and it is true but in the end, Portland lost a winnable game at home against a weaker team that only managed to shoot once on frame in the entire second half. While the Timbers produced a lot of shots, only three of them were on frame and of course, none of them ended up in the back of the net.
Portland will now hit the road to Kansas to play against Sporting KC next Sunday, May 28, at 12 p.m. PT.