VANCOUVER, Canada — Only 18,356 fans visited the second Cascadia derby of the season at BC Place as the Vancouver Whitecaps beat the Portland Timbers 1-0 and moved into playoff contention.
Usually, the Cascadia Cup matches are joyous affairs, but once again a Whitecaps match was overshadowed by a fan walkout.
This time the travelling Timbers Army joined Vancouver’s supporter groups in their support of 14 women who have made allegations of sexual misconduct conduct by a former Whitecaps women’s team coach back in 2008.
On the pitch, meanwhile, the Whitecaps found an early lead and held on. Fredy Montero produced the first chance of the game when going one-v-one with keeper Steve Clark, but saw his shot blocked.
He was not to be denied four minutes later, however. Scoring a stunning goal. It all started with a wide ball played from Hwang In-beom from the center of the park into the box where Russell Teibert laid off the ball to Montero, he, in turn, wrestled himself from his marker and then hammered the ball under the crossbar to make it 1-0.
What followed was an emotional celebration with Montero rushing to the stand and his teammates jumping on top of him. “I mean besides everything, you know, it was my first goal of the season in front of my own fans,” Montero said. “I wanted to give back to the fans and finally did,” Montero added.
Vancouver were flying. In the 12th minute, Clark had to tip a ball from his defender over the bar, and just a minute later Jon Erice missed the target with a short-range shot following a corner by In-beom. Then Montero almost scored his second with a short-range shot from inside the six-yard box in the 17th minute.
May 10, 2019; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Jon Erice (6) challenges Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara (21) during the first half at BC Place. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Portland had their chances as well, however. In the 14th minute, Jorge Moreira stunk Maxime Crépeau’s gloves with a low drive from the edge of the box. Then in the 27th and 28th-minute Crépeau kept Tuiloma out twice after two consecutive Timbers corner kicks.
Next came the walkout. Both the Southside and the away supporters section emptied out in the 35th minute creating an eerie silence at BC Place.
The walkout sucked the energy straight out of this game. For ten minutes the match almost felt like an exhibition match, even the players seemed to react as the pace visibly declined heading into halftime.
But by the second half, the crowd noise and the energy to the game returned. Timbers attempted to strike first but a shot by Andrés Flores in the 50th minute was just wide, Crépeau then produced another excellent stop from a deflected Sebastián Blanco cross and also produced a fine stop from a close-range Diego Valeri shot in the 72nd minute.
The Timbers took charge at this stage of the game and with their high press had the Whitecaps tied down in the defensive third.
“We are not Barcelona or Man City,” Marc Dos Santos said. “It is the reality that there are going to be periods of the game were we will be lower [in possession,” Marc Dos Santos added.
Thankfully, for the Whitecaps keeper Crépeau was excellent. “It is easier for me to have more actions,” goalkeeper Crépeau said after the game. “Because if you have only one action every 35 minutes it is very tough mentality,” Crépeau added.
Nonetheless, the Caps managed to produce the occasional chance on the counter. In the 69th minute, Montero won the ball on the right and sent a ball across to the wide-open Lucas Venuto, his shot from just 14-yards, however, graced the top of Clark’s goal.
⚽️Timbers can’t find a way through in second half
— Manuel Veth (@ManuelVeth) May 11, 2019
In the 77th minute, Ali Adnan appeared to be on his way to score Vancouver’s second. The left-back tanked his way through Portland’s defence, and with a series of tricks, blanked two Portland defenders but could not get past keeper Clark.
Going straight the other way, Portland were then denied the equalizer. In the 78th Valeri dribbled through Vancouver’s defence, and his soft cross found Blanco, but his shot was deflected wide.
As a result, the match remained in the balance heading into the final ten minutes. Blanco (88th) had the biggest chance during this stage. But the Portland midfielder saw his shot go wide and the Caps then managed to shut the door to hang on to all three points.
“It is very hard to win a game like this,” Dos Santos said. “This is a team that was in the final of the MLS not that long ago and just won three games in a row, so they came here with a good level of confidence,” Dos Santos added.
Vancouver Whitecaps (4-3-3)
Crépeau – Adnan, Henry, Godoy, Nerwinski – Teibert, Erice, In-beom (Rose, 65′) – Bangoura (Levis, 75′), Montero (Ardaiz, 87′), Venuto
Portland Timbers (4-4-2)
Clark – Valentin (Cascante, 83′), Tuiloma, Mabiala, Moreira (Melano, 83′) – Blanco, Chara, Paredes, Flores (Polo, 73′) – Ebobisse, Valeri