He definitely picked the right ones.
Blanco finished with two goals and an assist in Portland’s 4-1 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium. The three points puts the Timbers closer to clinching an Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs spot, with two games left to play this regular season.
Blanco’s assist opened the scoring for Portland as he put it right into Jeremy Ebobisse’s run. Ebobisse then returned the favor on Blanco’s second goal of the night.
Ebobisse, who has come on in recent weeks to have an impact in his second season with the Timbers, credited the Argentine for paving the way for production.
“He’s the key to our offense, a lot of things go through him and as a forward he’s always giving me good passes,” Ebobisse said. “I’m really happy whenever I’m on the field with Blanco.”
Blanco was the key to the offense in Utah, especially after RSL tied it up in the 55th minute. Portland withstood another good chance, before Blanco was able to put the game away with two goals within three minutes of each other.
“After we absorbed that moment, we regained control of the game,” Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese said.
Blanco said the Timbers “show the best in the difficult moments,” adding “we played compact, aggressive, and patient. We waited for the moments. We played like a very strong team.”
It helps if a player can punctuate those moments by tucking a ball into the far post twice in three minutes.
“[Blanco] was quality today,” Savarese said. “He helped defensively first and when we were going forward he created good chances and then the two amazing finishes were great goals.”
Picking up the three points on the road was the biggest thing to come out of Blanco’s night, but the way the Timbers handled 90 minutes on the road bodes well for their playoff chances, they believe.
“We kept believing in ourselves and trying to find the spaces,” Ebobisse said. “Not every game is going to be a shootout. We were getting some good balls in the box and getting clinical finishes from guys. It’s just about staying high and trying to find the right form heading into the playoffs.”
Consistency in the attack is what Savarese wants to see and Blanco, who now has nine goals and 10 assists in league play this season, provided that for Portland on Saturday.
“We can’t have too many lows, too many highs. Today we were sharp in the final third,” Savarese said.