The Argentine pair bagged second-half goals to erase a 1-0 deficit in a 2-1 defeat of the Colorado Rapids in a crucial Western Conference showdown Friday night at Providence Park, injecting life into their quickly fading postseason hopes.
Urruti finished off a beautiful team move in the 72nd minute and Valeri made sure of three points with a swerving long-range blast to put an exclamation point on the Timbers' first home victory since May 3.
With the win, Portland (5-6-9) jumped over Chivas USA into seventh place in the West with 24 points earned from 20 games, leaving the Rapids (7-6-6) empty-handed for the first time in four games and stuck on 27 points from 19 games.
The Timbers also snapped a four-game winless streak, but there were some tenative moments in front of a packed house at home.
Colorado, playing without suspended starters Vicente Sanchez, Nick LaBrocca and Shane O’Neill, made their first threat of the night pay off when a perfectly weighted through ball from Dillon Powers led to a dangerous shot by Deshorn Brown that Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts parried out for a corner with a diving save.
On the ensuing corner in the 16th minute, a Drew Moor header was first saved by Ricketts before the rebound was driven right back into the hands of the big ‘keeper, but not secured and eventually bundled over the line by Brown despite a last-ditch clearance attempt from Valeri.
The Rapids nearly added on in the 35th minute when former Timber and Oregon resident Danny Mwanga, who earlier came on for an injured Brown, set up Carlos Alvarez for a clear look on goal. His shot beat Ricketts but rolled just wide.
Portland finally got on the board with under 20 minutes remaining when Jack Jewsbury, played in down the right beautifully by Will Johnson, sent in a cross for a charging Urruti to chip in at the near post.
And with newly signed Designated Player Liam Ridgewell making his Timbers debut at center back, the Rapids' chances were few and far between down the stretch, giving the Timbers the much-needed victory.
Colorado return to action next Friday when they play host to Chivas USA, while Portland are back at it Sunday on the road against the Montreal Impact.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Diego Valeri||Turned the Timbers' loss into a win with pieces of individual brilliance on both Portland goals.|
|2||Liam Ridgewell||Made his presence felt immediately in the Portland backline, especially in the final 10 minutes after Portland had taken the lead.|
|3||Marlon Hairston||One of the most energetic players on the park in the first half, had plenty of positive touches and found space well|