By Corey Buchanan
VANCOUVER – The Portland Timbers hoisted the Cascadia Cup after a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in their final road game and first road win of the season at
Swangard Stadium in Vancouver, Canada.
The game was defined by puzzlingly stale offensive attacks, but the only goal of the
game was oppositely sensational. Off of a touch pass from Fronco Songo’o, Jack
Jewsbury blasted a shot from 30 yards out passed former Timbers goalkeeper Brad
Knighton to produce the lone goal of the game. Goalkeeper Donovan Rickets won
man of the match after having some impressive saves and goal kicks, one of which
towered so high that it hit the scoreboard. Penalties were also a major theme as the
game totaled a whopping 31 fouls and three yellow cards.
The Whitecaps seemed overtaken by the pressure of the possibility of being the
first Canadian team to ever achieve a playoff birth in the MLS. They couldn’t seem
to garner any momentum throughout, culminating in a scoreless effort with only 5
shots on goal, and few legitimate goal-scoring chances. Although the Whitecaps won
the time of possession battle 52-48, most of their time seemed to be spent meddling
in the mid field or attempting overly ambitious through balls. The best chance they
had at finding the scoreboard came at the foot of Barry Robson, whose strike from
about 20 yards out flew narrowly over the crossbar. Part of their offensive failings
can be attributed to top goal scorer Darren Mattocks absence from the lineup due to
a hamstring injury suffered in the Whitecaps’ game against Chivas USA.
Although the Whitecaps left empty handed in their attempt at a playoff birth, they
will still make the playoffs as long as FC Dallas doesn’t make up its four point deficit
in the final two games of the season.
The Timbers may have sealed the victory, but it wasn’t necessarily pretty. Steven
Smith almost scored an own goal after inexplicably kicking the ball straight at the
goal in panic during a Whitecaps offensive attack. Luckily, Donavan Rickets was
in prime position to catch the kick. Also, other than a few “useful” crosses by
Jewsbury and Sal Zicco, in the first half, chances were few and far between for
the Timbers, finding the target only 3 times the entire game.
But no need to dwell on the negative. The victory not only provided a silver lining in
an otherwise disappointing season, it gave the Timbers army bragging right against
its foes to the north. Not only for winning the Cascadia Cup, but also for holding
the most points among the tri city rivalry between the Timbers, Sounders and
Whitecaps in matchups against each other since the Timbers joined the MLS.
No matter how successful the Timbers may be, their fans seem to be supportive
through thick and thin. Forward Bright Dike even went as far as to say, “I think
our 1,000 fans were louder than their 20,000 fans”. So despite not being in the
playoff race this year, this Timbers team has hope for the future. Mostly due to their
glimpses of success especially in the Cascadia rivalry, and avid fan base who prove
obnoxious to visitors and unwaveringly supportive of this Timbers team. Hopefully
next year, road victories will be a more reoccurring result.
|M||Jun Marques Davidson||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|D||Hanyer Luis Mosquera Cordoba||–||–||–||–||–||2||2||–||1||–|