The game in 100 words (or less:) Portland Timbers came into this match sitting in last place in the Western Conference, and just squeezed out a win against New York City FC. NYCFC was without two stars in David Villa and Mix Diskerud, with both players out nursing injuries. Portland looked sloppy in the first half, but looked better in the second as Darlington Nagbe became more involved in the offense. Three points is three points, but Caleb Porter will surely look to improve on his team’s performance tonight.
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Three moments that mattered
31′ — Nat Borchers cleans up his own mess — Timbers defender Nat Borchers nearly cost Portland in the first half. The veteran defender failed to clear the ball out of his own box multiple times, and it eventually fell to NYCFC’s Mehdi Ballouchy. Ballouchy fired on net, but Borchers recovered to make a crucial deflection wide.
58′ — Kwarasey keeps it scoreless — Portland looked the weaker side throughout the first hour, and Adam Kwarasey had to keep the score level. Patrick Mullins made a great diagonal run behind the Timbers defense and fired on goal, but the moving Kwarasey dove back to his left, getting a big hand on Mullins’ shot.
79′ — Asprilla wins it for Portland — As the game opened up late in the match, Dairon Asprilla broke the scoreless tie to give Portland the three points. Darlington Nagbe surged forward with the ball, attracting the attention of multiple NYCFC defenders. The ball popped out to Asprilla, who fired a shot through a maze of players that took a deflection and beat Josh Saunders.
Man of the match: Darlington Nagbe — With Diego Valeri still out recovering from knee surgery, Darlington Nagbe has had to be the number-one playmaker for Portland. The Akron product had a quiet first half, but was the center of the Timbers attack in the second. Nagbe is dangerous any time he has the ball at his feet, and his hard work created Portland’s goal.
New York City: Saunders, Brovsky (Alvarez 83′), Wingert, Watson-Siriboe, Calle, Grabavoy, Ballouchy (Poku 74′), Jacobson, Taylor (Velasquez 35′), Mullins, Shelton
Portland: Kwarasey, Villafana, Ridgewell, Borchers, Powell, Chara, Jewsbury, Asprilla (Jeanderson 90’+3′), Nagbe, Yartey (Fernandez 74′), Adi (Urruti 84′)
Goal: Asprilla (79′)