VANCOUVER, B.C. — It’s been a tough season for the Portland Timbers, but the club more than played its part in the MLS playoff picture Sunday evening at BC Place, picking up a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The result, Portland’s first road win of the season, earned the Timbers the 2012 Cascadia Cup, an amount of solace in a disappointing campaign.
More importantly, from the standpoint of the playoff picutre, the draw put the Caps’ postseason chances in jeopardy. A win against Portland would’ve clinched a playoff berth for the Caps -- who have won just one of their last nine matches -- but they were forced to wait until the end of the Seattle-Dallas match to see if the stumble would hurt them. Two hours later, they had their answer: They were in, as a result of Dallas's 3-1 defeat, and they will travel to the LA Galaxy for a Knockout Round match.
Back in Vancouver, Jack Jewsbury struck the killer goal in the 39th minute, hitting a screamer from 25 yards out into the top right corner past Brad Knighton, who had no chance on the play. It was a goal that capped a relatively strong half for the Timbers, who attempted seven shots to Vancouver’s two, and outpossessed the home side by keeping 52.6 percent of the ball.
Despite having more shots, Vancouver actually seemed to have the edge when it came to quality opportunities.
Five minutes in, Barry Robson found Camilo lingering around the penalty area with the cross, but Donovan Ricketts claimed the Brazilian’s weak headed effort across goal.
On 14 minutes, Steven Smith almost scored an own goal, as he miskicked a clearance toward his own net, but was fortunate to see Ricketts make a strong reaction save.
At the half hour mark, Matt Watson made a clever play on the right side, flicking the ball over Smith before advancing the ball to Kenny Miller. The Scotsman smartly flicked a ball into the path of Camilo, but the forward couldn’t finish the play, scuffing his shot wide to the left of the target.
OPTA CHALKBOARD: Analyze the game your way
In the 35th minute, Portland came close, as Bright Dike got on the end of a Sal Zizzo cross, but Knighton reacted well to make the save.
In what was a tame second half for Vancouver, Robson nearly found Camilo sneaking in behind the Timbers’ backline on the hour mark, but Ricketts read the play well to come out and intervene.
Fifteen minutes from time, Dike attempted a shot from the right side, but Knighton managed to push the ball out comfortably for a corner.
The Whitecaps, now 11-13-9, will finish up their regular-season schedule next Saturday away to Real Salt Lake. The Portland Timbers, now 8-16-9, will host the San Jose Earthquakes at JELD-WEN Field on the same day.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Jack Jewsbury||Great goal and did well to clog up the middle all night.|
|2||Gershon Koffie||Not as influential going forward as he's been on other nights but did a lot of defensive work.|
|3||David Horst||Strong defensively in limiting Vancouver's attack to just 6 shots/1 on goal.|