MONTREAL – Caleb Porter got his wish.
The Timbers coach wanted three points at all costs on Sunday at Stade Saputo, and a winner from Diego Valeri in the 82nd minute got him just that. Portland won 3-2 at Montreal, with Maxi Urruti and Will Johnson completing the Timbers’ tallies. The hosts made things interest through Andres Romero and Maxim Tissot, but Valeri came through to push the Timbers past the Impact.
Both sides stay put in the standings. Montreal (3-12-5, 14 pts) sit last in the Eastern Conference, 10 points from the fifth-placed New York Red Bulls. Portland (6-6-9, 27 pts) are seventh in the West, but are level on points with the sixth-placed LA Galaxy, who hold the advantage in the Wins column.
Well aware of coach Porter’s intentions, Montreal absorbed pressure early on but chose their moments to go forward well. In the 13th minute, Justin Mapp's low cross from the right found Romero, who turned around Danny O’Rourke and beat Donovan Ricketts to his right.
Far from panicking, the Timbers picked up where they left off and were rewarded in the 34th minute. Excellent throughout, Darlington Nagbe mesmerized Felipe on the edge of the box before slipping the ball through to Urruti, who toepoked it onto the near post and in past Evan Bush.
Portland went ahead five minutes later. With Bush out of his net to challenge Gaston Fernandez, Hassoun Camara brought down Valeri on the right of the Montreal goal. Referee Silviu Petrescu pointed to the spot, and captain Johnson slotted his penalty kick home low past Bush, who guessed correctly by diving to his right despite being beaten.
But Montreal made it 2-2 just before halftime as rain started to pour down onto the Stade Saputo grass. Patrice Bernier, released down the left by Felipe, cut the ball back to Tissot, who produced a good finish with his stronger left foot.
Montreal had Portland chase the ball a bit more in the second half, which led to the visitors finally committing their first foul of the encounter in the 54th minute. The game died down as it progressed, however.
But Rodney Wallace brought the spark Portland needed. Subbed on in the 79th minute, Wallace raced down the left three minutes later. His cross was partially cleared by Futty Danso, but the ball reached Danso’s former teammate Valeri, who calmly stuck the dagger into the Montreal hearts.
Both teams are back in action next Saturday. The Impact welcome archrivals Toronto FC at Stade Saputo, while the Timbers travel to StubHub Center to face the Galaxy.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
Aside from scoring a clutch winner on a perfect low strike from distance, Valeri drew a penalty kick and delivered the latest in a string of impressive performances for the midfielder.
|2||Darlington Nagbe||Kept Montreal defenders on their toes with his speedy runs on the ball and passes. He had a nifty assist on the Timbers' equalizer and Montreal could only stop him by constantly chopping him down.|
|3||Justin Mapp||Assisted on the Impact's opener with a great low ball from the right and helped set up their second, but it wasn't enough.|