Cascadia Cup matches are always interesting, and Saturday’s 2-2 draw at BC Place was properly full of talking points. So let’s get right to it:
One Portland can feel good about: Clubs are usually OK with draws on the road, and the Timbers most certainly will be with this one. It wasn’t so much that Portland bossed the midfield for most of the first half, thanks largely to Will Johnson’s industry and to Diego Valeri’s movement and ability to pop in just the right spots. The Timbers’ three were just better than the Whitecaps’ three to start this one, and Vancouver needed to adjust by bringing extra help back to deal with things.
Portland will also cruise back into the States on a high because they were trailing in the 81st minute and down to 10 men. So big cheers of relief surely went up back in Oregon at the site of Jose Valencia’s 84th minute equalizer in Saturday’s 2-2 draw.
Said Portland midfielder Johnson of the team’s big spirit: “Just keep going. You never give up, no matter how many times you get hit in the face … you just keep fighting.”
Camilo makes the game: Let’s count the way Vancouver’s Camilo influenced Saturday’s contest:
He created the foul that led to his wonderful free kick goal. (We already went over that one.) Later, the Brazilian attacker assisted on Gershon Koffie’s goal, and then created the contact that saw Portland center back Futty Danso ejected.
On the ejection, Camilo was either being a sneaky, cheating little so-and-so or he cleverly created a man-advantage for his team, depending of course on your point of view. Because as Camilo and Danso chased down Nigel Reo-Coker’s delightful ball out of the back, Camilo appeared to throw his legs in front of Portland’s center back, forcing a big decision from the man in the middle.
Referee Matthew Foerster, well behind the play and probably not with the best view of things, quickly showed the red.
Significant numbers on both sides: Obviously, the Whitecaps are disappointed not to win at home, especially with the momentum of a huge mid-week win over the league champion Galaxy. Then again, considering the pounding the men of BC Place have taken from Portland, a draw represents progress, at least.
Consider that Camilo’s first half goal gave Vancouver its first lead in MLS soccer against Portland.
For Caleb Porter’s Timbers, Saturday’s result runs the club record unbeaten streak to 10 games, the longest in MLS this year. In fact, that’s just the 26th time in MLS history a club has reached double digits in consecutive contests unbeaten.
The Timbers also have a six-game road unbeaten streak, the longest in MLS this year.
Finally, Saturday’s match was the first in an important stretch for the Timbers, who are playing 7 of 10 on the road (including Saturday’s match.)