Apr 22, 2018; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala (33) celebrates after scoring a goal during the second half against New York City at Providence Park. The Timbers won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Sebastian Blanco, Fanendo Adi and Larrys Mabiala scored and the Portland Timbers ended New York City FC’s season-opening undefeated streak at seven games with a 3-0 victory Sunday.
New York City had won five matches and tied two and was the only Eastern Conference team without a loss going into the weekend.
The Timbers have won two straight after going without a victory in their first five matches. Portland opened the season with five straight on the road because of construction at Providence Park.
David Villa started and wore the captain’s armband for NYCFC, entering the game just one goal away from reaching 400 total goals for club and country. Only four current players internationally have more: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Luis Suarez.
Villa had his best chance in the 40th minute but his shot was stopped by Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.
The match was played as rumors continue to swirl around NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira and the top job at Arsenal. Arsene Wenger announced on Friday that he was leaving the Premier League club after 22 years this summer.
A day before his surprise announcement, Wenger was quoted as saying that he felt Vieira had the “potential” to lead Arsenal one day.
A French former midfielder, Vieira played for Arsenal from 1996-2005, scoring 29 goals in 279 appearances.
Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, who played for the club for eight seasons and also played for the New York Red Bulls, has also been mentioned as a possible successor to Wenger.
Vieira rested Jesus Medina and Yangel Herrera, who were available off the bench against the Timbers. Both had started in each of NYCFC’s previous matches.
Portland started Antinella for the first time this season. He was injured (quad) to start the year.
Portland scored in the 27th minute on Blanco’s high-arching header off a corner kick. It was Blanco’s fourth goal of the season. The Timbers extended the lead in the 38th minute when Adi tapped in the rebound after goalkeeper Sean Johnson turned away a shot by Diego Valeri.
Mabiala, a defender, scored on a header off a corner kick in the 66th minute.
Both teams wore special jerseys made of recycled materials to celebrate Earth Day and conclude Major League Soccer’s Greener Goals Week. All 23 teams had new jerseys for Week 8.