Whitecaps blank Timbers
Fredy Montero scored in the ninth minute, and the Vancouver Whitecaps defense took it from there for a 1-0 MLS win over the Portland Timbers on Friday at B.C. Place in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The result ended a three-game win streak for Portland, which is 3-6-1 (10 points) 10 matches into its season-opening stretch of 12 road games. The Timbers are 10th in the Western Conference.
Vancouver is 3-5-3 (12) and moved — at least until Saturday — into seventh place in the West.
Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said he was pleased with his team's play and noted it took a couple of big reaction stops by Vancouver goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau to keep the Timbers off the board.
Portland launched 27 shots.
"Everyone did everything that they could. We had chances. We attacked. We possessed the ball. I thought we dominated the match," Savarese said. "But credit to (the Whitecaps). They defended very well, and their goalkeeper made some spectacular saves.
"If we play the way we played today, not many times are we going to lose."
Against a well-organized Vancouver team on a challenging surface, the job became more difficult when Montero pounced on an early chance and rifled home the ball from 10 yards.
The chance came from a mis-hit clearing attempt by Portland right back Jorge Moreira. The ball fell to Vancouver's Russell Teibert, whose pass found Montero in space behind the defense.
Only five of Portland's shots were on target, but there were real chances.
Crepeau made lunging saves on consecutive corner kicks midway through the first half to swat away headers from Larrys Mabiala and Bill Tuiloma.
In the 72nd minute, Crepeau was positioned well to gobble up a quick chance from Diego Valeri.
Sebastian Blanco took eight shots. While he was credited with only one on target, he had several near misses, including a 79th-minute header blocked by center back Erik Godoy and an 88th-minute shot from just outside the box that swerved just outside the post.
Substitute Lucas Melano wrong-footed a far-post chance in the 84th minute, missing a well-placed cross from Andy Polo with the goal open.
Portland earned 12 corner kicks to five for Vancouver. The Whitecaps, defending in organized blocks, were called for only four fouls. The Timbers were whistled for 13 and drew three yellow cards — a 90th-minute yellow card for Diego Chara will force the midfielder to miss Portland's trip to Houston on Wednesday.
• This was the first of four Cascadia Cup matches for the Timbers, and the Whitecaps have the early lead in that regional competition with Friday's three points.
• Members of the Timbers Army supporters group at the match joined the Whitecaps Southenders and Curva Collective supporters group in walking out of the stadium for the final 10 minutes of the first half.
It was the third Whitecaps home game that Whitecaps supporters -- this time among an announced attendance of 18,356 -- have staged a walkout in protest of the way club owners have responded to allegations of abuse against a former coach of the defunct Whitecaps FC women's team.
A dozen former players for that team and for the Canada women's under-20 team have alleged they were abused by their coach.
Bob Birarda coached both teams in 2008 but was dismissed from both positions that October. He has not been charged with any crimes.
The Whitecaps supporters group has asked club owners Greg Kerfoot and Jeff Mallett to meet with players alleging the abuse. The owners on May 1 posted a letter on the Whitecaps FC's website apologizing for the pain and suffering experienced in 2008. In the letter, they explain the termination of the coach following an internal investigation in 2008.
The letter also states that new allegations presented in an online blog were reported to the police.
Prior to Friday's match, the Timbers Army issued a statement supporting the protest by the Southenders.
"Bottom line: We support human rights, and we support our Cascadian rivals in their fight for safe environments for athletes," said the statement on the Timbersarmy.org website. "To that end, we are sharing this message from Southsiders and Curva Collective — and we encourage our supporters to participate in the walkout of the stadium at the 35th minute (34:00 on the clock) in solidarity."