Jeremy Ebobisse

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Inspired Timbers outdo SKC with last-minute goal (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): A lot was on the line at Providence Park on Saturday night. Visiting Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers, separated only by three points prior to kickoff, were equally as desperate for a three points as the playoff race intensified. When the first whistle blew and the team’s got settled in, it was obvious that there was a lot at stake. Despite approaching the game in a conservative manner, Peter Vermes and Co. were destined to win a four straight – until a late Timbers surge occurred. Hampered with a a slew of officiating decisions going against them, Portland caught their first break when Jeremy Ebobisse struck late in the game. It would be turn out to be two in the final 10 minutes, though, as substitute Brian Fernandez delivered the game-winning goal for a Timbers that are now sixth in the West with six games to play. What a night in Portland.

Three moments that mattered

65′ — Feilhaber adds to his list of frame-worthy goals  — When it comes to scoring stunners, very few do it like Feilhaber.

83′ — Ebobisse levels the score — Just by the way Ebobisse decided to “celebrate,” one could tell last-minute magic was on the way.

90′+4 — Fernandez earns Portland valuable victory  — Brian Fernandez for the win, of course.

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

Man of the match: Diego Valeri

Goalscorers: Feilhaber (65′), Ebobisse (83′), Fernandez (90’+4)

Ebobisse scores in 82nd, Timbers come back to tie Orlando

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Portland Timbers had plenty of opportunities to score on Thursday night. They just had a tough time taking advantage of the chances.

Jeremy Ebobisse scored on a header in the 82nd minute soon after subbing in to give the Timbers a 1-1 tie with Orlando City on a night both teams were tested for defensive depth.

“We’re on the front foot for most of that 90 minutes,” Ebobisse said. “Unfortunately, one moment on the defensive side gave them a little bit more belief than we need a lot of teams to have when they’re playing us at home.”

Jorge Moreira crossed from the right wing to Brian Fernandez, who lowered to flick a header behind him to the open Ebobisse for the lone goal for the Timbers, who outshot Orlando (7-9-6) 26-2.

“Having two forwards in the box in Brian and I gave their center backs a lot more issues,” Ebobisse, who entered in the 61st minute, said. “That’s how it manifested itself with the goal.”

The Timbers (7-8-5) are unbeaten in their last four regular season games.

Santiago Patiño scored for Orlando off of a deflection in the box from Moreira in the 44th minute. Moreira intended to clear a cross out of the box, but it went right to Patino’s feet in the middle of the box.

It was Patino’s second goal and third start of the season.

The Timbers played short-handed in the back. Marco Farfan was injured in a 2-2 draw with Colorado on Saturday, a game in which center back Julio Cascante was given a one-game suspension for a red card. Outside back Jorge Villafana also is working his way back from injury.

Orlando City goalkeeper Brian Rowe finished with three saves. In a crowded box, Blanco got off a left-footed shot on the ground in the 17th minute, but missed wide right. In the 37th minute, Blanco headed Diego Valeri’s cross from the left wing, and though it got past Rowe’s outstretched arms, it hit the crossbar and bounced close enough for Rowe to corral. Rowe blocked another shot in the 43rd, a near-post low line drive by Fernandez.

Orlando City coach James O’Connor credited his back line – which played without center back Alex De John, who left the game after being kicked in the face in the 12th minute – for forcing Portland into shots from longer distances.

“I thought we defended really well,” O’Connor said. “I thought there was a togetherness to the team. Look, they’re a very good team, the Timbers, and put us in a lot of pressure, but I thought by-in-large, we coped pretty well and defended excellently.”

Less than 10 of Portland’s 26 shots came inside the box.

“As a team we agreed our decision-making in the final third wasn’t as clinical as we would have liked, maybe rushing a few decisions and not picking the right pass at the right moment,” Ebobisse said.

Orlando City is tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference; Portland currently sits in ninth place in the Western Conference.

USMNT 3-0 Panama: Mihailovic scores on debut as US impresses

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It was a day of debuts for the USMNT as they defeated Panama 3-0 to end January camp on a positive note. Gregg Berhalter led the United States for the first time as head coach, while five debutants earned their first senior international caps, the most in a single match since 1992.

One of those debutants, Chicago Fire academy product Djordje Mihailovic, bagged the game’s opening goal, giving the hosts tangible reward for an energetic and sharp showing. Walker Zimmerman grabbed the second goal, sealing the win, while substitute Christian Ramirez poked in the third at the death. Another debutant, Aaron Long, wore the captain’s armband over Michael Bradley, a surprising development when the lineups were announced.

The United States off the opening kickoff showed a fascinating tactical shape and clear purpose. Defender Nick Lima, listed as a right-back, often pushed forward into central midfield when the U.S. had possession of the ball. He would occupy the space next to Michael Bradley, with the other defenders forming a back three.

[ MORE: Player ratings from USMNT win over Panama ]

The hosts had the first look at goal, with debutant Jeremy Ebobisse – deployed on the left wing – crossing to Gyasi Zardes completely alone in the penalty area, but his wide-open header was sent over the bar.

Bradley was at the heart of every U.S. possession, and he nearly created another goalscoring chance on 20 minutes when Cristian Roldan had the ball down the middle and should have seen Corey Baird running clear on goal, but instead wasted the chance with a shot from 28 yards out. Five minutes later Baird had another chance, putting his layoff from Zardes just inches wide right. Nick Lima had a shot that also went a hair wide of the post a minute later from Zardes again laying off.

The U.S. continued to dominate and nearly found the opener on a corner in the 28th minute. Long had a touch at the near post and flicked it across the face of goal where a charging Walker Zimmerman put it over the bar. The attacks continued to prove dangerous but lacked the final ball, as Zardes again missed with a header in the 39th minute after Daniel Lovitz delivered a brilliant curling ball into the box.

Finally, the U.S. was able to celebrate after Panama failed to deal with a broken attack. In the 40th minute, the U.S. pushed forward after a turnover and Lima was the man on the ball through the middle. He threaded Zardes through the center, and while Zardes went down under pressure looking for a foul, the ball fell at the feet of Baird, and he cut across to Mihailovic who came charging in and blasted the ball into the back of the net with the help of a slight deflection.

It has to be said that Panama was horrific in the first half, but they picked things up after the break and worked a big chance in the 55th minute that required a reflex save from Zack Steffan, the first real action for the U.S. goalkeeper.

Mihailovic had another big chance on the stroke of the hour mark, charging again onto the ball at the top of the box, but his vicious shot was blocked. He came off soon after for Sebastian Lletget in Berhalter’s first substitution.

In the 70th minute, the U.S. was again put under pressure on a free-kick that saw two Panamanian attackers get behind the defense, but Ernesto Walker sent his glancing header just wide. With Panama beginning to find a bit of comfort, the United States bagged a second goal to put the game away, made by Lima with a wonderful bit of defense to offense. With Panama on the counter after the U.S. saw an attack fizzle out, Lima came thundering in with a thumping tackle, winning the ball off Edson Samms and then delivering a pinpoint cross to a host of bodies in the penalty area. Walker Zimmerman rose the highest and pummeled in a header for the strike.

With the game winding down, substitute Christian Ramirez came on for Zardes and poked home the exclamation point on great work from fellow substitute Jonathan Lewis down the left flank, bursting past his defender and cutting across to Ramirez all alone on the doorstep with the goalkeeper pulled out.

That was nearly the final kick of the game, with no stoppage time added. It was a solid win against a poor opponent for the United States, with few trouble spots to shake a finger at. Berhalter earned victory in his first coaching appearance for the USMNT, giving hope to fans as they move forward toward the Gold Cup, and eventually, the World Cup qualification cycle.

MLS: Rookie Ebobisse stars as Timbers win in Vancouver

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The game in 100 words (or less): The Portland Timbers, thanks to a standout performance in rookie striker Jeremy Ebobisse’s first MLS start, put to bed a six-game winless skid with a 2-1 win away to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday. The run of poor form stretched back to early June, and saw Caleb Porter’s side slip from contention for the Western Conference’s top spot, into the jumbled mess surrounding the playoff cut line (four teams separated by one point, either side of sixth place, coming into Sunday). Ebobisse scored the opening goal less than a quarter-hour into the game, and delivered the beautiful backheel assist to Sebastian Blanco to restore the Timbers’ lead four minutes into the second half, after watching it disappear just before halftime. The victory sees Portland leapfrog Vancouver to move into fourth place in the West, just four points off the top spot once again.

[ RECAP: Super-sub Dempsey propels USMNT past Costa Rica ]

Three moments that mattered

14′ — Ebobisse touches home his first MLS goal — Sometimes you don’t really have to do much beyond simply existing in the right place. Ebobisse existed in the right place.

45′ — Jacobson heads home before halftime — Update: Portland still have issues defending set pieces.

49′ — Blanco slots past Ousted for 2-1 — No one really stepped up to deny Blanco’s marathon dribble, and Ebobisse did so much more than simply existing on this one.

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Man of the match: Jeremy Ebobisse

Goalscorers: Ebobisse (14′), Jacobson (45′), Blanco (49′)

U.S. U-20s fall to Panama to open CONCACAF Championship

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Well, that didn’t go according to plan.

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team suffered a 1-0 defeat against Panama to open Group B play in Saturday’s CONCACAF Championship match.

[ MORE: Burnley upset by fifth-division Lincoln in FA Cup ]

Despite playing down a man for over 70 minutes, Panama managed to find a winner in the first half when Leandro Avila beat Jonathan Klinsmann off of a lobbed effort inside the penalty area.

The U.S. was dealt a further blow in its first match of the tournament as captain and New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams was forced off at halftime with an apparent ankle injury.

Adams was seen hobbling on crutches at the start of the second stanza, leaving his status for the rest of the competition uncertain.

Jeremy Ebobisse gave Tab Ramos’ team their best chance to score in the 49th minute when the Portland Timbers forward nodded an effort off the crossbar from close range.

In all, the U.S. hit six shots on target to Panama’s one, but Ramos and co. now find themselves in a precarious position after dropping the opening match.

The U.S. will meet Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis in its two final group stage matches on Feb. 21 and Feb. 24, respectively. Haiti blasted St. Kitts, 5-1, in its opening fixture to give the island nation control of Group B.

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