Timbers Play Chivas USA to Draw on the Road
By Portland Timbers
CARSON, Calif. – Midfielder Diego Valeri scored five minutes into the second half, finding the back of the net in a second straight match, as the Portland Timbers battled back to earn a point on the road in a 1-1 draw against Chivas USA at the StubHub Center on Saturday night.
The Timbers (10-5-13, 43pts) remain in playoff contention in fifth place in a tightly contested Western Conference, just six points back of first place with six games remaining in the regular season, including four at JELD-WEN Field.
Trailing 1-0 at the break, the Timbers found the equalizer in the 50th minute, as Valeri, a halftime substitute, tallied his seventh goal of the season five minutes into his shift. Valeri’s goal ignited a second-half performance by the Timbers in which they controlled the run of play and finished the match with the advantage in shots (12-9), corners (4-3) and held nearly 61 percent of the possession.
Chivas USA (6-15-8, 26pts) found the game’s opening goal against the run of play in the 23rd minute on a header by midfielder Bryan de la Fuente. Defender Carlos Borja served in a cross from the left corner and de la Fuente’s shot from the center of the area deflected off the top of the right post and in for his second goal of the season and a 1-0 lead for Chivas USA.
A quick build up by the Timbers, initiated by midfielder Darlington Nagbe up the middle of the park, led to Valeri’s goal in the 50th minute. Portland worked the ball into the area and forward Jose Valencia would lay the ball off for a shot by Valeri at the top of the box that found its way inside the left post.
The Timbers found rhythm in the second half, attempting eight of their 12 shots in the half. Forward Rodney Wallace nearly found the go-ahead goal in the 60th minute, but his volley from inside the box, off a cross by Valeri, just missed wide of the right post. Forward Ryan Johnson then had a shot from inside the left corner of the area deflected wide of the left post three minutes into second-half stoppage time.
Portland’s defense held Chivas USA to just four shot attempts in the second half; Chivas USA did not take a shot in the first 26 minutes of the second half. Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts finished with two saves, one coming in the eighth minute on a shot by Carlos Alvarez from just outside the area.
The Timbers, trying to pull level, attempted three shots over the final minutes of the first half. Defender Pa Modou Kah had a header off a corner kick by midfielder Will Johnson in the 44th minute that was saved by Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
The Timbers return home to play host to the Colorado Rapids on Friday, Sept. 20, at JELD-WEN Field in a nationally televised match on NBC Sports Network; kickoff at 7 p.m. (Pacific).