It had been far too long since the Portland Timbers and their fans had tasted victory. The fact that it came against their rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps, and that it propelled the Timbers into sole possession of first place in the battle for the Cascadia Cup, only made the victory even sweeter.
This wasn’t the only reason this was a game of firsts for the Timbers.
* Obviously, this was the first win of the season for General Manager/Interim Coach Gavin Wilkinson. Incidentally, like Geoffrey Arnold, I also counted 10 GW OUT signs in the North End of Jeld-Wen Field.
* Darlington Nagbe became the first player on the Portland Timbers to score a goal in three straight matches. Nagbe now has a career high of six goals and trails Kris Boyd for the team lead in goals scored by one.
* Franck Songo’o scored his first career MLS goal on Saturday off of a laser-like free kick inside the left post. Vancouver keeper Joe Cannon got his hands on the ball but couldn’t keep it out of goal.
* Maybe others have seen this before, but I’ve never seen a referee take sidelong glances at a replay to decide on whether to give a yellow or red card. David Gantar took forever to decide how to punish the Whitecaps Darren Mattocks for leading with his elbow while challenging for a header with defender David Horst. Gantar went back and forth between his back pocket (yellow card) and shirt pocket (red card) at least twice before finally going to the shirt pocket to show Mattocks the red card. It was certainly one of the most bizarre moments of MLS refereeing I’ve ever witnessed live, and that’s saying something.
Other news and notes from Saturday’s match:
* Steven Smith needs to win MLS Save of the Week. What an absolutely phenomenal play. Watch and enjoy:
* Game stats:
POR: Nagbe (Jewsbury, Alexander), 41
VAN: Miller (DeMerit), 45+1
POR: Songo’o, 55
VAN: Rochat (Caution), 32
VAN: Thorrington (Caution), 65
VAN: Mattocks (Ejection), 84
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts, D Kimura, D Mosquera, D Horst, D Smith, M Nagbe (Palmer, 90+2), M Jewsbury ©, M Alexander (Wallace, 79), F Zizzo, F Dike (Mwanga, 86), F Songo’o
Substitutes Not Used: GK Bendik, D Danso, F Boyd, F Fucito
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Songo’o, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Songo’o, 2); FOULS: 9 (Dike, Songo’o, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 7 (Ricketts, 6)
VAN: GK Cannon, D Lee, D DeMerit ©, D O’Brien (Bonjour, 61), D Rochat, M Davidson, M Thorrington (Mattocks, 65), M Robson, F Camilo, F Miller, F Richards (Harris, 85)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Knighton, D Harvey, M Teibert, M Watson
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Camilo, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Camilo, 3); FOULS: 20 (Robson, Rochat, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 2