Forward Ryan Johnson scored in the second half as the Portland Timbers played Vancouver Whitecaps FC to a 1-1 draw in a hard fought Cascadia Cup match Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 20,674 at JELD-WEN Field. Portland is unbeaten in its last eight matches at JELD-WEN Field.
The Timbers (8-3-11, 35pts) remain in second place in the Western Conference, tied with the Colorado Rapids, three points back of conference leader Real Salt Lake, as four of the five clubs in current playoff positions earned draws in their respective matches Saturday. Whitecaps FC (9-7-5, 33pts) sits in fifth place, just two points back of Portland.
It was a physical match between the Cascadia rivals from the onset, with three cautions issued in the opening 17 minutes of play. The two clubs exchanged goals in the second half. Johnson staked the Timbers to a 1-0 lead four minutes into the second half. On a corner kick 20 minutes later, Whitecaps FC equalized on a Jordan Harvey header.
Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri recorded his eighth assist of the season on Johnson's goal, matching a Timbers MLS record for assists in a single season.
Portland claimed the lead in the 49th minute on Johnson's team-leading seventh goal of the season. A well-placed cross lofted into the box from the right side by Valeri found Johnson in stride. From near the penalty spot, Johnson knifed a header into the top near corner of the goal around the outstretched arms of Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted.
Whitecaps FC pulled level in the 69th minute on Harvey's fourth goal of the season. Camilo whipped in a corner kick from the left side that fell in on the near post. Harvey slashed across the goal mouth and was able to get his head to the ball and direct it on frame. Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was able to get a hand to the ball, but could not keep it out.
The Timbers took eight of their 13 shots in the second half and edged Whitecaps FC in shots, 13-10. Portland's defense held Vancouver to four shots on goal, and did not allow one on frame after the goal in the 69th minute.
The Timbers visit Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, Aug. 7, in the semifinal of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah; kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (Pacific). The U.S. Open Cup match will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS. The winner of Wednesday's semifinal will play host to the U.S. Open Cup final.
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