Portland Timbers forced to settle for goalless draw by Vancouver Whitecaps

The Portland Timbers were left frustrated as the Vancouver Whitecaps earned a valuable 0-0 draw at Providence Park in Sunday’s MLS Cup Playoff Western Conference semifinal first leg.

The Cascadia rivals faced off in their first ever playoff clash on Sunday in what was a hard-fought, close affair but neither side were able to find the net.

Vancouver came into the game with the best away record in MLS in 2015 and also ended the regular season with the best defensive record, so they were always going to be tough to break down.

The draw will suit them more than Portland as they will feel home-field advantage will give them a major edge in next week’s second leg.

Portland came into the match off the back of Thursday’s knockout round win over Sporting KC, in a game that went all the way to penalties before goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey’s heroics sent the Timbers through.

Kwarasey wasn’t able to build on his display on Sunday night as he missed the match through illness, while Diego Chara was also missed by Portland as injury prevented him from playing.

Playing two games in four days clearly affected Portland as they looked very tired late on, despite the home crowd’s best efforts to rally them forward.

The game failed to deliver too many chances as neither goalkeeper was really tested as both defences remained tight and well organised for most of the match.

Diego Valeri came close to opening the scoring just after the hour mark when his free-kick looked to be heading for the top corner, only for David Ousted to get a vital hand to the shot.

Then Maximiliano Urruti was denied by the width of the post in the dying embers of the game as the substitute almost scored his second crucial playoff goal in a week.

Portland enjoyed plenty of possession but ultimately couldn’t translate that to goals and will be disappointed to have not made the most of home advantage in the first leg.

The second leg will be played at Vancouver’s BC Place next Sunday with the winner of the tie going on to face either the Seattle Sounders or FC Dallas in the Western Conference final.

What did you make of the game in Portland on Sunday? Did Vancouver deserve a draw?


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