Two set-piece goals have resulted in silverware for the Portland Timbers, as they secured a 2-1 win Tuesday night over Orlando City SC in the MLS is Back Tournament Final presented by Wells Fargo.
The victory gives Portland their second title in MLS, with a 2021 Concacaf Champions League spot and $300,000 in prize money paired alongside the one-of-a-kind trophy as the tournament in Orlando concludes with its 51st match.
The Timbers first got on the scoresheet in the 27th minute via center back Larrys Mabiala, who nodded home a looping free kick from Diego Valeri for the 1-0 lead.
Orlando’s pressure was rewarded, though, when Mauricio Pereyra bundled home at the near post. He latched onto Nani’s low cross, drawing the Lions level at 1-1 in the 39th minute.
But another set piece gave Portland the ultimate game-winner in the 66th minute, this time through Dario Zuparic. After Eryk Williamson collected a Valeri corner kick with time and space, the Croatian center back swept home the eventual goalmouth scramble for a 2-1 lead.
- 27' – POR – Larrys Mabiala | WATCH
- 39' – ORL – Mauricio Pereyra | WATCH
- 66' – POR – Dario Zuparic | WATCH
Man of the Match presented by Heineken
Diego Valeri played 90-plus minutes in midfield, thriving in the No. 10 role he’s long enjoyed for Portland. He played an inch-perfect ball on Mabiala’s opener, and was credited with three key passes and three shots on target. After the match, the 34-year-old lifted the trophy sky-high while surrounded by his teammates.
WATCH: Portland Timbers lift MLS Is Back Trophy
- THE BIG PICTURE: Portland, 2015 MLS Cup champions, added another piece of silverware to the trophy cabinet. They didn’t need brilliance from Sebastian Blanco, as was often the case at MLS is Back, but nonetheless emerged from the month-long event as champions. There’s heartbreak for Orlando, a club that’s taken big strides forward under head coach Oscar Pareja. One last victory proved elusive, ending a remarkable run from the Lions.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The match-winner from Dario Zuparic stands out, not for aesthetics but rather its overall importance. The goal came from the unlikeliest of sources, as he joined last November via TAM from HNK Rijeka in Croatia.
- YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: The Timbers had just over 36% of possession, but allowed one Orlando shot on target. Even though they didn't dominate control of the ball, they were efficient as ever under head coach Giovanni Savarese.
- POR: Sunday, Aug. 23 vs. Seattle Sounders | MLS regular season (10 pm ET | FS1)
- ORL: Saturday, Aug. 22 at Inter Miami | MLS regular season (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada)