Diego Valeri scored a goal worthy of winning any match in the world, but Lee Nguyen's equalizer forced the Portland Timbers to settle for a 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution at Providence Park on Sunday evening.
Valeri gave the Timbers the lead on a brilliant volley, taking Chris Tierney's misguided headed clearance and smashing it into the top corner from about 15 yards. The Timbers had their chances to double the lead, and were punished for wasting them when Nguyen popped up to smash in the rebound after Jake Gleeson denied Teal Bunbury at the near post.
New England earned their first away point of the season, while holding the league-leading Timbers' offense to a solitary goal for just the second time in five matches.
- THAT GOAL THO: Valeri's strike is easily one of the best of the young 2017 season, and maybe no surprise given the Argentine's red-hot form. The 30-year-old is on pace to shatter his own lofty offensive standards with five goals and two assists so far. More of this will see him move into the MLS MVP conversation.
- SMITH STRONG IN DEBUT: The evening's biggest surprise may have been Revs boss Jay Heaps going with rookie Joshua Smith at center back ahead of Benjamin Angoua. The 4th-round draft pick out of the University of San Francisco met the challenge in his pro debut in a strong team defensive effort. His best moment came when he refused to get beaten by Fanendo Adi on a 1-on-1 just before the half.
- FIVE FOR FIGHT-TYING: On opposite coasts, the Revs and Timbers don't tangle too often, but they've already developed a a history of sharing the spoils. This was the fifth draw between the two clubs in eight matches, even though the Timbers have outscored the Revolution 9-5 in the series.
They Said It
"I'm going to watch that Diego Valeri finish about 1000 times after the game tonight." – color analyst Taylor Twellman on ESPN2 broadcast