In a match filled with fireworks from start to finish, Los Angeles FC spoiled the reopening of Providence Park, beating the Portland Timbers 3-2 late Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 25,218 fans.
The Timbers (4-7-2) were looking for a win in their first home game of the season after starting the season off with 12 straight road contests, but the Supporter Shield leading LAFC (11-1-4) had other ideas.
Golden Boot front-runner Carlos Vela started things off quickly for LAFC, capitalizing on an misplaced pass from Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. The veteran keeper was trying to find fullback Jorge Villafana with the pass, but Vela stepped in front of it and slotted it home with ease in the sixth minute for his 16th goal of the season.
Vela, who also leads MLS in assists this season, dropped his 10th dime of the season in the 34th minute. From the right flank, Vela played the ball to Tristan Blackmon who then crossed it in to Diego Rossi, who used just one soft touch of his right foot to find the back of the net.
The Timbers netted their first goal in the newly renovated Providence Park in the 46th minute when Cristhian Paredes headed in a rebound.
But LAFC quickly found its offensive form again and created a two-goal cushion thanks to Latif Blessing, who jumped in the air to send a cross from Jordan Harvey into the net in the 56th minute.
Jun 1, 2019; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Timbers forward Brian Fernandez (7) scores a goal during the second half against Los Angeles FC at Providence Park. Los Angeles FC beat the Portland Timbers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Portland would score one more goal late, and while it wasn’t enough to even up the scoreline, it was a highlight that many Timbers fans will remember. Following a header from Jeremy Ebobisse, Brian Fernandez pulled off a bicycle kick to send the shot into the back of the net in the 84th minute.
— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) June 2, 2019
This game featured goals that could overload a SportsCenter segment, a brilliant tifo and plenty of scrappy play. There were 27 fouls committed and six yellow cards were doled out.
The Timbers notched more shots, more shots on-goal, tackles won, duels won, and won the possession battle, 54 to 46, but in the end it was LAFC rolling to another victory. For the Timbers, the loss snapped a seven-game unbeaten streak at home, dating back to last season.
For both teams, their next matches will come in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. The Timbers will take on rival Seattle Sounders, while LAFC will face Real Salt Lake.