Playing at their temporary home of Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, the Whitecaps snatched all three points thanks to the headed finish from the big Canadian international, which wound up standing as the game's only goal.
The Timbers had the better of the chances in the first half, nearly striking for the opener in the 34th minute, when Diego Valeri broke free down the right side and ran onto a through ball from Larrys Mabiala. The Argentine maestro hit a cross that was blocked by Andy Rose and very nearly deflected into the goal but ended up going off the crossbar.
Dairon Asprilla then forced Whitecaps goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau into a tough save in the 38th minute, which saw the Whitecaps backstop sprawl out to deny a rocket effort from just outside the area off the boot of the Portland attacker. Asprilla also had the last good look for either side before the halftime break, sailing an acrobatic attempt over the crossbar after a header from Diego Chara was punched into the air by Crepeau.
After Rose came agonizingly close to opening the scoring for Vancouver with a deflected shot that went off the post, Cavallini found the eventual game-winner in the 49th minute with a clinical header off a Cristian Gutierrez corner kick that he cashed home at the far post.
The Whitecaps thought they slammed the door with a late insurance tally after Cristian Dajome pounced on a loose ball in the box and slotted home the finish, but Jake Nerwinski was ruled to be offside on Video Review right before the shot and the goal was disallowed. It turned out to be a moot point, as the Whitecaps managed to see out the clean sheet.
- 49' - VAN - Lucas Cavallini | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: It's a huge result for the Whitecaps and head coach Marc Dos Santos, who get a big rivalry victory in challenging circumstances as they adapt to their temporary home of Rio Tinto. The Timbers, meanwhile, will be awaiting an update in the coming days on starting goalkeeper Steve Clark, who had to sub off with an injury late in the second half for Jeff Attinella.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It's Cavallini's goal, which will provide plenty of positive vibes for a Vancouver squad looking to show they're ready to take a step forward this season after a difficult 2020.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Cavallini also gets the honors here. The Whitecaps need the DP forward to have a big season, so they couldn't have asked for a much better start.