Vancouver Whitecaps hold on for wild 4-3 win in Portland

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

Vancouver 4 (Morales 2, Hurtado, Harvey) – Portland (Urruti, Fernandez, Johnson)

The Vancouver Whitecaps went down early then scored 4 goals to take a 4-1 lead early into the 2nd half before Portland stormed back with 2 goals late to make the match interesting at 4-3. Vancouver would hold on for the 4-3 victory behind a two goal, two assist effort from Pedro Morales, who scored two first half penalties. Erik Hurtado and Jordan Harvey would score on either side of half-time, while Maximilliano Urruti opened the scoring on two minutes for Portland, while Gaston Fernandez and Will Johnson scored late for the Timbers to make things interesting.

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The Vancouver Whitcaps travelled down to Portland to take on the Portland Timbers in their 2nd match of Cascadia Cup action a week after drawing the Seattle Sounders to a 2-2 draw at BC Place. Head Coach Carl Robinson went with an unchanged starting lineup from last weeks match meaning that Erik Hurtado of nearby Beaverton, Oregon, would get a chance to start in front of family and friends.

Maximilliano Urritti disrupted Vancouver’s plans early on with a goal 2 minutes in, curling a shot from just outside the box past the hands of David Ousted to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead. Will Johnson almost made it 2-0 just 6 minutes in but Ousted palmed away his shot to keep the match at 1-0.

Vancouver’s Erik Hurtado earned the Whitecaps a penalty 14 minutes in after getting tripped up in the box. Pedro Morales would step up and put a shot to the left of Donovan Ricketts to tie the match 1-1.

Portland would hit the crossbar on a corner kick on 18 minutes, Urruti almost getting his second on a header but his effort would hit the crossbar by the right post of Ousted.

On 25 minutes Sebastian Fernadez would be tripped up just inside the box and the referee would call for another penalty kick, Morales would step up and put it to the right of Ricketts this time to give the Whitecaps a 2-1 lead.

Kekuta Manneh would earn a yellow card for a foul on Diego Chara after losing the ball in the Timbers end in the 28th minute, while Portland was unlucky not to get a penalty call in the 30th minute after Diego Valeri was fouled in the box by Matias Laba, but the referee decided to keep the whistle in his pocket as players, coaches and fans for the Timbers all remonstrated with the referee.

Morales almost got his hat-trick on 36 minutes as the ball bounced towards him in the box, but his curling effort would go wide of the target to keep the match at 2-1, and in the 41st minute the Whitecaps earned a corner kick, Morales would deliver into the box and Hurtado would try a Cristiano Ronaldo like heel flick that almost came off but would go just over the bar.

In the 43rd minute both teams would engage with pushing and shoving after both teams had players go down in midfield. Sebastian Fernandez would then hold onto the ball for too long while Portland tried to play it then would go down as Pah Madou Kah tried to take the ball off him. Both players would earn a yellow card for their efforts.

On the stroke of half time Diego Valeri would test the Whitecaps goal, but his shot would go off Jay DeMerit and into the side netting. Portland would not be able to do anything on the corner but would continue to pressure the Whitecaps goal to no avail. The Whitecaps would go down the pitch and make the Timbers pay for missing their chances, with Morales finding Hurtado in the box, Hurtado’s first chance bouncing off Ricketts before the Beaverton native poked home the rebound to give the Whitecaps a 3-1 lead going into the half.

The 2nd half got underway with the Whitecaps making their first substitution, Russell Teibert coming on for Kekuta Manneh, who was on a yellow card. The Whitecaps would start off right back where they left off on 49 minutes, where Pedro Morales’ cross box pass found Jordan Harvey, who took a touch down to control the ball before shooting past Ricketts to give the Whitecaps a 4-1 lead.

On 51 minutes though David Ousted would go down momentarily after challenging Steve Zakuani for a ball. The two players would collide and Ousted would take the worst of it, requiring brief treatment before resuming play.

Pedro Morales would again go for his hat-trick on 56 minutes as he unleashed a long shot that bounced in front of Ricketts, who would palm away for a corner. Before the corner Fernando Adi would come in for Steve Zakuani, and the resulting corner would result in nothing for the Whitecaps.

In the 65th minute Erik Hurtado would come off for Darren Mattocks, who would make his first apperance since suffering a hamstring injury before the Canadian Championships. Portland would counter with Gaston Fernandez coming on for Maximilliano Urruti.

69 minutes in Diego Valeri had a chance to peg one back as the Whitecaps defense misjudged a cross into the box, leaving Valeri along against the keeper but Valeri could only slice wide and hit the side netting. Nagbe would also snatch half a chance but his shot on goal would go wide to the left of Ousted.

In the 76th minute Portland again tested the Whitecaps defense, with the cross into the box deflecting off Jordan Harvey, David Ousted just got his hand to it to force a corner.

Portland would bring on Khalif Al-Hassan for Jack Jewsbury before making it interesting as Gaston Fernandez would beat Jay DeMerit to the ball, his header beating David Ousted to make the Match 4-2. Vancouver would respond by bringing on Omar Salgado for Sebastian Fernandez, and would proceed to slow the game down as much as possible. On 83 minutes Portland would catch the Whitecaps defence napping again but Ousted once again bailed them out as Adi had an open look on goal. The Whitecaps would pay for another defensive laps as the ball came to Fanaedo Adi who one-touch passed it to Will Johnson who struck home to give the Timbers a chance to come back at 4-3 on 85 minutes.

Gershon Koffie would give up a foul on 87 minutes in a dangerous area just outside the box. Will Johnson would set up to take it and just missed his free kick keeping the match at 4-3.

Portland would pour it on in stoppage time, with Raushawn McKenzie getting a header towards goal but his header would go just wide. The Whitecaps had a chance on the counter attack but the ball would towards Ricketts who would play the ball past a couple of Whitecaps towards midfield before getting fouled. Portland would continue to move forward and on the last kick of the game would send a delivery into the box, but David Ousted would catch and hold on as the Whitecaps would survive a late rally from the Timbers for a 4-3 win.

The Whitecaps with the win are now four points up on Portland and currently hold 4th place in the MLS Western Conference. Their next match is away at Philadelphia before the MLS takes a two week break for the World Cup. Pedro Morales earned man of the match honours for a two goal, two assist effort.

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