PORTLAND, Ore. (Via Portland Timbers) – The Portland Timbers conceded just three shots on goal, while earning 60 percent of the possession and seeing a late effort strike the right post in a scoreless draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals in the MLS Cup Playoffs in front of a sellout crowd of 21,144 fans at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Timbers, making their second appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs in the last three seasons, head to Vancouver for the second leg of the two-game, aggregate-goal series on Sunday, Nov. 8, at BC Place. Kickoff time and broadcast details are still to be determined.
Playing their third match in an eight-day span, including the regular-season finale (Oct. 25) and a penalty-kick shootout win against Sporting Kansas City on Thursday in the Western Conference Knockout Round, Portland registered an 11-10 advantage in shots and a 6-3 edge on goal. On short rest, the Timbers recorded the majority of the possession against the conference No. 2 seed Whitecaps FC side that last played on Oct. 25. Keeping Vancouver off the scoreboard in the first half, Portland was the aggressor in the final 45 minutes, outshooting Whitecaps FC 7-2 in the second half.
Forward Fanendo Adi tried to poke a sliding effort past Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted in the 54th minute that was blocked, while midfielder Diego Valeri saw a bending free kick plucked out of the upper right corner in the 72nd minute.
Late in the match, substitute forward Maximiliano Urruti, who tallied the game-tying goal in the 118th minute against Sporting Kansas City on Thursday, saw a right-footed effort beat Ousted and strike the outside of the right post in the 89th minute.
Importantly, Portland did well to handcuff Vancouver’s attack and not concede an away goal, while earning its first shutout in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson made three saves in his first career postseason start and Whitecaps FC did not attempt a shot over the final 20 minutes of the match.
The Timbers head to Vancouver for the second leg having lost just once at BC Place in MLS regular-season play since 2011. Portland has compiled a 3-1-4 overall regular-season record in Vancouver and finished the 2015 season tied for the most road wins (7) in the league.
· With Sunday’s sellout crowd of 21,144, Portland has sold out all of its regular-season home games and playoff games since joining MLS for a combined 89 sellouts.
· The scoreless draw on Sunday marked Portland’s first MLS Cup Playoffs match against Vancouver and their 11th postseason meeting across all eras since 1975.
· Sunday’s match was Portland’s sixth MLS Cup Playoffs game since 2011 and its first shutout.
· The Western Conference Semifinals first leg marked Portland’s third game at Providence Park in eight days, including the regular-season finale (Oct. 25) and the Western Conference Knockout Round match on Thursday (Oct. 29).
· Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson made his first appearance for the Timbers in all competitions since Oct. 21, 2014, in a 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League match against C.D. Olimpia. It marked Gleeson’s MLS Cup Playoffs debut and his 12th career appearance (7 starts) for Portland across all competitions since 2011.
· Sunday’s match marked the 83rd all-time meeting between Portland and Vancouver since 1975. Portland improved its record to 30-35-18 overall.
· The Timbers and Whitecaps FC have played to draws in three consecutive matches at Providence Park, dating back to May 2.
· Jack Jewsbury, Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri and Rodney Wallace have started each of Portland’s six MLS Cup Playoffs matches.
· Including the regular season, the Timbers are unbeaten in five consecutive matches, including three straight at Providence Park.
· With the scoreless draw, the Timbers are 2-0-1 in three Western Conference Semifinals matches since joining MLS.
· Sunday’s match marked Portland’s 35th playoff match, dating back to the 1975 NASL season.
Portland squares off against Vancouver in the second leg of the two-game, aggregate-goal Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday, Nov. 8 at BC Place; kickoff time and broadcast details for the match are still to be determined.
MLS Cup Playoffs | Western Conference Semifinals – First Leg
Portland Timbers (3) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2)
Nov. 1, 2015 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 0 0
Portland Timbers 0 0 0
POR: Melano (Caution), 44
VAN: Koffie (Caution), 45
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Gleeson, D Powell, D Borchers, D Ridgewell ©, D Villafaña, M Jewsbury, M Valeri, M Nagbe, F Melano (Asprilla, 61), F Adi (Urruti, 71), F Wallace
Substitutes Not Used: GK Weber, D Paparatto, D Peay, M Fochive, M Johnson
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Three players tied, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Valeri, 2); FOULS: 10 (Wallace, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 3
VAN: GK Ousted, D Beitashour, D Waston, D Parker, D Harvey, M Laba, M Teibert, M Techera, M Koffie (Rosales, 64), F Manneh (Morales, 77), F Rivero (Mattocks, 88)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Tornaghi, D Dean, D Smith, M Flores
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Manneh, Rivero, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Manneh, 2); FOULS: 8 (Rivero, Teibert, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 6
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: George Gansner, Brian Dunn
4th Official: Sorin Stoica
Time of Game: n/a
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 59 degrees