Darren Mattocks

Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP

Houston 0-0 Portland: Attinella keeps 1st leg level (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): A pair of first half penalty shouts, one taken back and another not given, were the stories of the frame as both Houston and Portland were denied attempts from the spot. More concerning for Portland was the pre-half injury to Diego Chara, who appeared to suffer a non-contact leg injury. The Timbers were on the back foot for plenty of the second half, calling upon goalkeeper Jeff Attinella several times, though the introduction of Jeremy Ebobisse at least temporarily gave them some life. Plenty of time on social media was spent on Houston’s turf, which has not had kind hurricane, soccer, and football seasons. The second leg is Nov. 5 at what will be a raucous Providence Park.

[ MORE: RBNY 1-2 Toronto FC ]


The moments that mattered

31′ — Houston penalty overturned — There’s good debate as to whether VAR should’ve been called into this bang-bang call, but Houston’s chance for a first half lead from the spot was taken back when it was ruled Alberth Elis was not fouled by Portland’s Larrys Mabiala.

42′ — No penalty given to Portland — Why wasn’t VAR called upon here, where Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric certainly appears to scythe down Portland’s Darren Mattocks.

56′ — Forget away goals, just keep it clean — Jeff Attinella was under fire in the second half. Similar to Alex Bono in the other Monday first leg, the Timbers keeper was a big part of the away effort.

Man of the Match: Attinella.

MLS Snapshot: POR carve up 9-man ORL, keep pace with VAN, SKC

Pete Christopher//The Oregonian via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): All of a sudden, the Western Conference has sprung to life as the 2017 regular season winds down — Vancouver Whitecaps, winners of five of their last seven games (unbeaten); Portland Timbers, winners of four of their last six following Sunday’s 3-0 victory over 10-man nine-man Orlando City SC at Providence Park; Sporting Kansas City, losers of just two of their last 15 games; Seattle Sounders, who had their 13-game unbeaten run snapped on Saturday; and Real Salt Lake, winners of four of their last five. With fewer than a handful of games remaining, Vancouver’s lead on Portland and Sporting KC remains one point after all three sides won this weekend; RSL and Seattle are separated by just three points, three points back of second and third. As for Saturday’s game, Diego Valeri is now a top-two candidate for MVP after scoring two more goals (his 19th and 20th, to go with 9 assists) against 10-man Orlando.

[ MORE: TFC’s Shield celebration delayed | RSL end Seattle’s run at 13 ]

Three moments that mattered

15′ — Valeri extends his streak, makes it 1-0 — The last time Valeri failed to score in a game, the date was July 23.

29′ — Mattocks taps it home after Asprilla’s cross — Huge credit to Diego Chara for the through ball to spring Dairon Asprilla into acres of space. The ball to Mattocks was simple, and he got it right.

59′ — Valeri gets no. 20, makes it 3-0 — Joe Bendik managed to deny Mattocks’ initial effort, but Valeri followed up when everyone in white had already quit on the play.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Diego Valeri

Goalscorers: Valeri (15′ – PK, 59′), Mattocks (29′)

Jamaica fight back to draw El Salvador, lock up 2nd in group

AP Photo/Eric Gay
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Jamaica’s passage into the quarterfinals of the 2017 Gold Cup had already been secured — and it’s a good thing — a full 24 hours before their Group C finale against El Salvador, but the Reggae Boyz entered the Alamodome in San Antonio, Tex., with plenty still at stake.

[ MORE: Player ratings from USA 3-0 Nicaragua | Three things we learned ]

After falling behind to Nelson Bonilla’s opening goal in the 15th minute, Winfried Schafer’s battled, and labored, for the remaining 75 minutes.

[ REACP: USA beats Nicaragua, 3-0 ]

50 minutes would pass before the equalizer arrived, rescued on a penalty kick converted by Darren Mattocks. The draw is enough to elevate El Salvador into one of two best-place third-place slots, and secure their place in the quarterfinals, alongside Jamaica, Mexico and five other nations.

Up next for El Salvador, it’s a quarterfinal matchup with the U.S. national team on Wednesday, in Philadelphia, Penn. As for Jamaica, their next opponent will be determined by the outcome of Mexico’s finale against Curacao later on Sunday. A Mexican win or (scoring) draw would clinch top spot for El Tri, setting up Jamaica versus Canada; a Mexican loss would hand the group to Jamaica, and they would face Honduras.

Portland rolls the dice that Porter can fix Darren Mattocks after trade

Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
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Caleb Porter has added another Akron alum to his Portland outfit.

The Timbers acquired Darren Mattocks from Vancouver on Monday for general allocation money, reuniting him with Porter and fellow ex-Zips like Darlington Nagbe and Zarek Valentin.

[ MORE: MLS Rewind — Vieira the Tinkerer and Player/Team of the Week ]

Portland’s started the season 1-1, while the ‘Caps are a disappointing 0-2. It could be addition by subtraction for Vancouver, as the streaky Mattocks has failed to live up to expectations in British Columbia.

From Timbers.com:

“We are extremely pleased to be able to add Darren Mattocks to our roster as another dynamic attacking option,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “Darren is an exciting player that has game-changing pace and has displayed his goal-scoring ability in MLS and with Jamaica. He can provide depth in the striker role or as a winger and will bring another weapon to an already strong attacking group.”

It’s not a bad risk for Porter, who knows the player well. Mattocks has 12 goals in 31 caps for Jamaica and has 6- and 7-goal seasons under his belt despite falling out of favor with Carl Robinson.

Mattocks went second overall in 2012 SuperDraft, one pick behind Andrew Wenger and ahead of such standouts as Kelyn Rowe, Ethan Finlay, Matt Hedges and Dom Dwyer.

He’ll also have to overcome the strong start of another reclamation project in Jack McInerney, who scored Sunday for the Timbers.

Portland also signed Fanendo Adi to a new contract.

Canadian Championship (leg 1) Snapshot: Montreal Impact 2-2 Vancouver Whitecaps

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The game in 100 words (or less): The Vancouver Whitecaps got exactly the result they hoped to achieve in their first-leg meeting with the Montreal Impact of the first leg of the Canadian Championship on Wednesday night — kind of. In truth, the Whitecaps were angling for a 0-0 away result from the first whistle — so much so, in fact, that through first 45 minutes, that the visitors didn’t attempt a single shot in the champions series’ opening quarter of play. That same gameplan ensued well into the second half for the ‘Caps, until Darren Mattocks nabbed the unlikeliest of opening goals, following by a second from Pedro Morales. However, with two away goals already in tow, the ‘Caps were unable to kill the game off and retain their two-goal lead. Carl Robinson’s side would have snatched a draw out of your hand before the game began, but considering the varying game states along the way, a 2-2 draw will be thoroughly infuriating. The second leg will be played in two weeks’ time (Wednesday, August 26) at BC Place in Vancouver.

[ MORE: Week 23 MLS Team of the Week | Player of the Week ]

Three moments that mattered

65′ — Mattocks’ delicate touch give the ‘Caps an unlikely lead — Kianz Froese broke down the left side for Vancouver, got to the endline and provided a really dangerous cross into the six-yard box of Montreal. Mattocks, not typically known for his feathery first touch, provided the most delicate of redirects and sent the ball just inside the far post for an unlikely 1-0 ‘Caps lead.

72′ — Morales embarrasses Kronberg with a near-post free kick — Pedro Morales is not someone for whom you want to leave an entire half of goal open and unmarked on a free kick. For some reason, Eric Kronberg did just that, and Morales curled a stunner and made him pay.

85′ — Jackson completes Montreal’s quick double-salvo — Laurent Ciman pulled one back through Laurent Ciman’s header of Marco Donadel’s corner kick. 22-year-old Anthony Jackson-Hamel grabbed an equalizer barely 60 seconds later.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Marco Donadel

Goalscorers: Mattocks (65′), Morales (72′), Ciman (84′), Jackson-Hamel (85′)