PORTLAND, Ore. – Get Kris Boyd chances, he scores goals.
It’s as simple as that, Portland Timbers head coach John Spencer said. And in the Timbers’ first Cascadia Cup game of the season Saturday at JELD-WEN Field against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Spencer shook up the formation in the hopes that more chances are there for the big Scottish striker.
HIGHLIGHTS: Portland 1, Vancouver 1
With Darlington Nagbe at the top of a diamond at midfield and Jorge Perlaza up top alongside Boyd, the chances came in bunches. And Boyd capitalized with his first goal since April 14 against the LA Galaxy in a 1-1 draw.
“I think we were a lot more offensive tonight,” said Boyd, who now has four goals on the season. “We did get more chances, we got at them, we pressed higher up the field. We caused them problems in their half, and we were steady at the back. I think it was a positive performance tonight.”
Portland won the possession battle and had five shots on goal on 14 total attempts. Boyd had four shots in all, two on goal.
“You get him a chance in the box, the ball is in the back of the net, plain and simple,” Spencer said of his fellow Scotsman. “We have one of the best finishers in the British game on our club, and if we don’t get him chances he’s not going to score goals, plain and simple.”
Besides Boyd’s performance, Spencer called Saturday’s game “best football we played all year.”
With the explosive Nagbe setting the tempo, and Eric Alexander and Kalif Alhassan on the wings, Portland had Vancouver on their heels for most of the game. The Whitecaps had just three shots on goal on 11 total attempts. And Portland’s possession game was impressive, with nearly 80 percent passing accuracy for the game.
“I thought it worked because I’ve been saying time and time again that we’re lacking a bit of creativity, we’re lacking that final pass across into the box,” Spencer said. “I think tonight we showed that when we get it to our feet we possess the ball extremely well. We were creating chances almost at will tonight. I just think tonight we had a little bit of a spark, and I thought we were the best team by far.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.