Portland Timbers 1, Chicago Fire 2 - Match Recap & Highlights
Another home game ends in disappointment as the Timbers concede late yet again and suffer defeat.
The Portland Timbers dropped a very disappointing result at home, losing two goals to one to the Chicago Fire. Fabian Herbers opened the scoring for the visitors, and Franck Boli fired the Timbers level midway through the first half. It was the late-show that bit the Timbers yet again though, as Kei Kamara headed home the winner for the Fire in the 83rd minute.
Giovanni Savarese rolled out the same lineup as he did last weekend in San Jose, which featured the majority of the same backline and defensive midfield that had posted three straight clean sheets coming into tonight.
The opening ten minutes of the game were all Chicago, as their defensive pressure caught Portland on their heels and prevented the Timbers from getting any kind of foot on the ball. Chicago last played on June 10 and the Timbers last played just four days ago — and it showed in the energy levels early in the match.
That lack of control from Portland led to Chicago generating the first look on goal — and it ended Portland’s three-game shutout streak. Fabian Herbers fired home a cutback cross in the box after the Timbers backline fell asleep and lost Brian Gutiérrez on the left wing, opening the scoring for the visitors.
After conceding, the Timbers finally woke up and ratcheted up the pressure, and both Evander and Franck Boli had good chances saved in fantastic fashion.
That pressure paid off in the equalizer, as a lightning quick counter-attack had Diego Chara find Santiago Moreno in space, and Moreno slip through Boli in behind. The Ivorian striker calmly rifled home the ball on the run to level the match.
The second half started with the Timbers continuing to show renewed energy, but lacking that necessary bit of quality. As the half wore on, it was the visitors who grew into the game, putting more and more pressure on the Portland backline. Still, the backline held firm and manage to ward away the Chicago chances.
That is, until the 83rd minute. MLS veteran forward Kei Kamara, a second-half sub for the Fire, headed home a cross at the far post after he managed to somehow get free in the Timbers box.
Despite a flurry of late half-chances, it was Kamara’s header that would hold up as the winner, dooming the Timbers to their third home loss of the season.
10’ Goal Chicago 0-1. A horrendous start for the Timbers saw them struggle to get any kind of control of the ball, and the Fire capitalized when Brian Gutiérrez caught the Timbers defense napping. He sprinted in behind and cut the ball back for a streaking in Fabian Herbers, who powered home the opener.
12’ A lovely passing move from the Timbers saw Chris Brady make a solid save to just touch away a low shot from Evander.
14’ Franck Boli was next to be denied by a great defensive play, as his shot from the tight angle was blocked on the way towards the back of the net.
19’ Evander went down in the box, and appeared to be tripped. No call was made live, and the play did not go to VAR for… reasons.
26’ GOAL TIMBERS! 1-1 Franck Boli scored in his second straight home game, finishing off a neat through ball from Santiago Moreno with clinical lethality, equalizing for the home side.
30’ BIG SAVE BINGHAM. The Timbers’ goalkeeper made himself big to make a fantastic save to deny Jairo Torres, who was clean through on goal.
HALFTIME: Timbers - 1, Chicago - 1. A slow start from the Timbers saw them fall behind, and then a much improved remainder of the first half saw them claw back.
The game already featured 22 shots in the first half, with Portland holding the edge 14-8.
52’ The first real chance of the second half fell to the feet of the Fire, as Torres sent a shot barely wide of the far post (potentially with a lil’ bit of help from Bingham’s hand).
56’ Dairon Asprilla was the first player to go into the book, for what appeared to be a very innocuous challenge. But I’m not the one holding the whistle, and the guy who was adjudged that it was excessive (I guess?) and showed Asprilla a yellow card.
60’ Evander embarrassed two defenders in the box and fired off a shot from a tight angle, but it flew wide of the goal.
69’ Evander had a very nice run from the Timbers box into the opposition box, with runners to his left and right. The Brazilian however opted to try to do it himself — and got it caught in the spokes, thus ending what was a glorious chance for the Timbers to take the lead.
72’ A triple-change for the Timbers, as on came Sebastian Blanco, Marvin Loria, and Jaroslaw Niezgoda. Off came Asprilla, Boli, and Evander.
75’ Claudio Bravo was shown a yellow card for an ill-timed slide tackle.
81’ Nathan was the next to enter the fray, who replaced Moreno. The Colombian had one of his best performances of the season tonight, tallying an assist on Boli’s equalizer.
83’ Goal Chicago 1-2. The grizzled veteran Kei Kamara hurt the Timbers yet again as he headed home a cross to the far post, giving the visitors the lead once more.
89’ Rafael Czichos was shown a straight red card for what initially appeared to be a denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity on Niezgoda, but after a VAR check it was determined that Czichos’ challenge was clean, and the card was rescinded.
FULL TIME: Timbers - 1, Chicago - 2. A very disappointing night ended in defeat for the Timbers, who fell at home for the third time all season.
Welp, that’s a new entry into the “most disappointing result of the year” sweepstakes.
The frustration of losing to the second-bottom team in the Eastern Conference at home is hard to adequately measure. What’s worse, it takes the shine off of the past few weeks of improved defensive displays.
Portland fell into all of their old habits defensively on Chicago’s two goals: losing track of runners, scrambling poorly, and not communicating. You can probably chalk a decent amount of the cause for that up to fatigue, as the Timbers were playing their third game in eleven days.
But if that’s the case, then a few questions have to be asked of Giovanni Savarese, who started the same XI who started in San Jose (which was almost identical to the same XI who started against Dallas) and didn’t make any substitutions until after the 60th minute.
Maybe Gio and the Timbers underestimated Chicago, maybe Chicago decided to turn up and play one of their best games of the year, or maybe it was a combination of the two. But for whatever the reason, the Timbers are now right back below the playoff line in 10th place, and have collected just one win in their last seven games.
If anyone thought this team’s problems were fixed, well, tonight proved that they very much are not.
There’s unfortunately little time for the Timbers to dwell on the loss, as they go again in three days when they host NYCFC in a rematch of the 2021 MLS Cup Final. Kickoff at Providence Park is set for 7:30 p.m. PT.