Timbers beat Minnesota United 3-2 for first win of season
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Alvas Powell and Diego Valeri scored three minutes apart in the first half as the Portland Timbers earned a 3-2 victory over Minnesota United FC on a rainy Saturday night.
The win is Portland's first of the season, after going winless on a five-game road trip (0-3-2) to start the season. The extended road trip was due to renovations being done to Providence Park to expand their seating capacity.
"We've been working very hard to achieve this result. We were looking forward to coming home," said Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese. "The energy tonight from the fans gave us what we needed in order to fight all the way to the end."
"It felt great. Our supporters gave us what we needed, that energy, that support all the time," said Valeri. "To be honest, it was a long stretch on the road and we couldn't get results, so we did it today."
Meanwhile, Minnesota has lost three in a row.
"I thought we were far and away the better team in the second half, and large portions of the first," said Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath. "Gave two terrible goals away, which we've done a couple times on the road. So we gave ourselves a mountain to climb, but we kept going."
Powell opened the scoring in the 20th minute with an excellent individual goal, starting when he picked up the ball near the halfway line and sprinted towards goal. Powell turned defender Francisco Calvo in the wrong direction with a couple step-overs, then riffled a right-footed shot past Minnesota goalkeeper Matt Lampson and inside the near post for his first of the season.
Three minutes later, Valeri doubled the lead. Powell's cross from the right sideline deflected off of Miguel Ibarra and found the 2017 MVP 6 yards from goal, where he flicked out his right foot and knocked the ball past Lampson for his third goal of the season.
Minnesota thought they pulled one back right away, after a good sequence of passes ended with Ibarra knocking the ball into the net. However, the goal disallowed after a video review determined Ibarra was offside.
The Loons scored a goal that counted in the 64th minute, as Minnesota's recent Designated Player signing, Darin Quintero, started paying immediate dividends. Quintero received a throw-in near the right sideline, dashed into the penalty area, took a touch to his right to create space between him and defender Zarek Valentin, and knocked a rolling shot under Gleeson into the goal.
Portland restored the two-goal lead in the 74th minute. Valeri headed a cross to Cristhian Paredes near the top of the box, whose shot bounced at Fanendo Adi near the penalty spot, and the big forward headed the ball into the net for his first of the season.
Adi scored again four minutes later, but that goal was also disallowed after VAR determined he was offside.
Minnesota pulled back to within one again in the 81st minute, as Timbers defender Bill Tuiloma's attempt to clear a pass ended up floating over Gleeson and into the net. But that was as close as they got, as Portland managed to hold on in the end and secure the victory.
"We got some luck on the third goal, to be honest," said Valeri. "Because it came in the right moment. It was an open game in the second half."
Updated April 15, 2018