PORTLAND, Ore. – It had just about everything a good Cascadia rivalry match should have, bodies flying everywhere, plenty of animosity between the players, and a raucous, sold-out crowd.
There was just no winner, as the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a 1-1 draw Saturday night at JELD-WEN Field. Second-half headers, first by Portland forward Ryan Johnson and then Vancouver defender Jordan Harvey, offset and the two rivals tied for the second time this season.
The point kept Portland even with Colorado, tied for second place in the Western Conference with 35 points from 22 games and three points behind first-place Real Salt Lake.
A Vancouver side that came into the game ravaged by injuries and suspensions likely leaves with a more positive outlook. They stayed in the fifth and final playoff spot with 33 points from 22 games.
It was a rough and rugged affair from the outset.
With 30 fouls whistled on both teams and six total yellow cards issued, neither side got into much of an offensive flow and quality chances were few and far between, especially in the first half. The teams took just nine combined shots before halftime.
There was no shortage of physical play, either.
Vancouver saw the worst of it when in the 15th minute, midfielder Brad Rusin got tangled with Portland midfielder Diego Valeri and was stretchered off with a sprained right ankle, according to the club.
Portland finally broke the stalemate in the 49th minute when Johnson converted a perfectly placed Valeri cross with a clinical header to the top corner, beating Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted, who made his MLS debut.
Vancouver found the equalizer in the 69th minute on a Camilo Sanvezzo corner that Harvey plucked out of the air for the header goal that beat Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, whose quick reaction was only enough to slightly deflect the shot.
With Portland frantically pushing forward they appeared to net the would-be game winner in the 79th, but Pa-Modou Kah was ruled offside for his tap-in.
The Timbers have a quick turnaround for their next match, a semifinal-round game of the US Open Cup at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. They return to MLS play Aug. 17 at home against FC Dallas.
The Whitecaps return home for their next game, Saturday against San Jose.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Diego Valeri||Always put his team in position to find the winner, and rarely gives the ball up in a bad spot.|
|2||Camilo Sanvezzo||Takes a team often devoid of attacking ideas and makes them consistently dangerous. His dead-ball delivery continues to be underrated.|
|3||Andrew Jean-Baptiste||Mixes in savvy veteran moves with his obvious physical abilities. He's improved by leaps and bounds since March.|