Late substitute Jaroslaw Niezgoda headed Sebastian Blanco's corner kick past Nick Marsman only 44 seconds after his entrance to lift the Portland Timbers to a 1-0 victory Sunday at Providence Park and deal Inter Miami CF's postseason hopes a substantial blow.

Niezgoda's 83rd-minute winner – his second goal this season – extends white-hot Portland's unbeaten run to eight matches, including seven wins, while dropping Miami to a fourth consecutive defeat.

The fourth-place Timbers are guaranteed to be within no more than five points of third in the Western Conference at the conclusion of MLS Week 29.

Portland also now have a seven-point cushion above fifth-place Real Salt Lake in the battle for home-field advantage in Round One of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Miami remain eight points adrift of the Eastern Conference playoff line with seven matches left to play.

Three minutes after Niezgoda struck, the visitors thought they'd salvaged a point on Julian Carranza's header, but referee Robert Sibiga whistled Carranza for a foul on center back Dario Zuparic.

Goals

  • 83' - POR - Jaroslaw Niezgoda | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Blanco's second-half entrance should ease Portland fan concerns about the playmaker's health after he exited in the second half with "knee pain" during a 2-1 midweek win at LAFC. Meanwhile, Miami could have a new injury concern with center back Nicolas Figal leaving just before the hour mark with an apparent lower-leg issue.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The Timbers have conceded an MLS-high eight goals from corners, but on Sunday they used one to their advantage at the best possible time. Niezgoda – having recovered from his own ACL tear – now has nine career MLS goals on just 14 shot attempts and 11 on target.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Steve Clark. Portland's goalkeeper made five saves to sustain his fifth clean sheet of the season. While he wasn't always standing on his head, his save on Brek Shea in the 71st minute was a quality one. There was also this moment with Niezgoda postgame:

Up Next

  • POR: Saturday, Oct. 16 at LA Galaxy | 10:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • MIA: Saturday, Oct. 9 at New York Red Bulls | 6 pm ET (Univision, TUDN, Twitter)