Portland Timbers come from behind to inflict defeat on TFC
TFC coach Greg Vanney felt his team was disconnected. Meanwhile, captain Michael Bradley called it a frustrating afternoon. Jonathan Osorio also described the performance as unacceptable.
The home side looked flat, out of sorts and without purpose in a 2-1 loss to Portland on Saturday at a chilly, windy BMO Field.
The Timbers had dropped to the last place in the MLS standings amid a five-game losing streak early this season, conceding 17 goals and posting a negative-11 goal differential over their first six games. But Portland has looked like a different team over the last three weeks, and the club is only getting better.
The Timbers put in arguably their best performance of the season so far to beat a robust TFC. The Timbers have now won back-to-back games on the road.
“It feels good, for sure, especially because this is our team,” Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. “This is the Portland Timbers that we know, with the spirit, with the mentality, with the heart, with the sacrifice inside the field.”
Portland is in the middle of 12 straight games on the road to open the season, due to construction at Providence Park. The club had always hoped to earn at least 12 points from that stretch of games, a mark that seemed nearly impossible just a few weeks ago.
“I think these kinds of games don’t happen often,” Osorio said. “They come once in a while where everybody is kind of off their game.”
Bill Tuiloma put Portland on the board in the 22nd with a dazzling volley off a corner kick, two minutes after Osorio scored for Toronto (4-2-1).
“The bigger picture on the day was it was just too easy for them to do anything that they wanted to do on the field,” Vanney said.
It was the first time that the Timbers (2-5-1) have won at BMO Field. Portland lost its last three meetings at the lakefront stadium and entered play with an 0-4-1 record here overall.
After a quiet opening 15 minutes, Toronto’s league-leading offence started to pressure the visiting side.
The hosts struck moments later as Alejandro Pozuelo floated a corner kick to a surging Eriq Zavaleta, who headed the ball into a mess of bodies in front of the net.
Defender Zarek Valentin tried to clear it, but Osorio stuck his right leg out for a tap-in goal.
It was one of the few bright spots in a dull, plodding game that had only a few exciting moments. Both teams managed just three shots on target and Toronto had a slight edge in overall possession.
The Timbers evened the score as Diego Valeri put his corner kick into the heart of the penalty area and Tuiloma struck the ball in mid-air, leaving Toronto goalkeeper Quentin Westberg frozen on his line.
Jozy Altidore was out with a hamstring injury. Therefore, Jordan Hamilton started up front as the home side went with a 4-4-1-1 formation.
TFC tried to build the play up down the wings. However, high winds often made for wayward crosses. The home side’s passes were frequently miss-placed. While the Timbers used a composed style and buried their chances.
“We just didn’t take care of the ball,” Osorio said. “Guys were off their game. I think we were all doing our own thing and we weren’t on the same page.”
Pozuelo has four goals in four games since joining Toronto from Belgium’s KRC Genk. However, he had a quiet opening half as the Portland defence defended him well.
TFC kicks off a busy stretch of five games in 15 days with a May 4 matchup at Orlando City.