With Sebastian Blanco serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation, Portland Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese gave Marvin Loria his first MLS start on Saturday night. Loria rewarded his manager with his first-ever MLS goal.
Loria's scissoring half-volley finished off a blistering counter attack and put the Timbers in front of the Houston Dynamo 1-0 in the 39th minute of the teams' meeting at Providence Park.
The goal came on literally Loria's first shot in MLS. The 22-year-old Costa Rican signed an MLS contract after contributing seven assists and six goals for Portland's USL side, Timbers 2, during their 2018 campaign.
“He’s been working well. He went through some moments in which he had some injuries, so we have to recoup him to this point. We felt it was the right time for him to come in and play. [Sebastian Blanco] wasn’t available so I felt the opportunity was there for [Loria]," said head coach Giovanni Savarese after the match. "We have three, four matches in two weeks, so it was important for us to be able to manage the players the right way. We had a plan prior to [LA Galaxy] and this is all part of the plan. Thank God Loria had a very good match because when you play your first match, you always want it to go the right way. But he’s been working very well to deserve what he had today.”
Loria originally joined Timbers 2 on loan from Deportivo Saprissa before Portland permanently acquired him last December.
He becomes the second Timbers player to score in his MLS and club debut against the Dynamo this season, after Brian Fernandez accomplished the same feat in the teams' earlier match in Houston.