Midfielder Darlington Nagbe scored in a third straight match and midfielder Franck Songo'o delivered the game-winning goal as the Portland Timbers ended an eight-game winless stretch with a 2-1 victory over Cascadia-rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC before a sellout crowd of 20,438 at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday.
The capacity crowd was the Timbers' 30th consecutive sellout for an MLS match at JELD-WEN Field since the club joined the league in 2011.
The Timbers staked a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute, when Nagbe set a new Timbers MLS record by scoring in a third straight match. Whitecaps FC was able to level minutes later just before the break as striker Kenny Miller answered with the equalizer in first-half stoppage time. Songo'o then provided the decisive goal 10 minutes into the second half, when his free kick slipped through the hands of Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon on the left post. Timbers defender Steven Smith chipped in with late-game heroics in an intense second half, heading away a shot by Camilo on the goal line to preserve the win.
With their first win since early July, the Timbers extend their lead for the Cascadia Cup, a fan-based derby contested between Portland, Vancouver and Seattle Sounders FC. The Timbers are unbeaten in Cascadia Cup play (2-0-1) this season and sit on top of the current cup standings with seven points from three games.
Nagbe tallied his sixth goal of the season, Songo'o scored his first MLS goal, midfielder Eric Alexander recorded his team-leading sixth assist, midfielder Jack Jewsbury logged his third assist of the campaign and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made six saves in the win for Portland (6-13-6, 24pts). The Timbers have earned points from three of their last four matches.
Miller notched his first MLS goal, DeMerit recorded his first MLS assist and Camilo put all three of his shots on goal for Whitecaps FC (10-10-7, 37pts), who was handed a third straight loss. Vancouver finished the final six minutes of the match with 10 men as rookie Darren Mattocks was shown a straight red card in the 86th minute.
Portland struck for the opening goal in a third straight match when Nabge found the back of the net four minutes before the end of the first half. On a play built up through the midfield, Jewsbury was able to find Nagbe on a clever run into the box. From near the penalty spot, Nagbe was able to fend off Vancouver defender Young-Pyo Lee and beat Cannon with a shot inside the left post for his third goal in as many matches.
Whitecaps FC pulled level at 1-1 minutes later as Miller tallied in first-half stoppage time. A late corner kick was broken up, but DeMerit was the recipient of the ball just outside the top of the area. He slotted a leading pass into the box for Miller in space on the left side and the forward was able to beat Ricketts to the near post.
A foul on Portland's Bright Dike 25 yards out set up the free kick which led to Songo'o's winner in the 55th minute. Lined up on the left side, Songo'o hit a dipping ball just over a wave of players at the top of the box aimed at the left post. Cannon looked to be on the ball as he went to ground, but the ball skipped through his gloves and landed in the back of the net to give the Timbers a 2-1 advantage.
Ricketts turned in four of his six saves on the night in the second half, including a stop on a point-blank shot by defender Andy O'Brien in the 50th minute and a pair of saves in the 77th minute on shots by Barry Robson and Martin Bonjour. Ricketts had help from Smith in the 74th minute, when the defender headed away a hard shot by Camilo off the goal line to preserve the Timbers' 2-1 lead.
Vancouver's Mattocks was sent off in the 86th minute with a straight red card from referee David Gantar following a hard foul by the forward on Timbers defender David Horst.
The Timbers came within inches of securing the opening goal in the 27th minute, Dike headed a cross from Smith off the base of the right post.
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