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MLS season opener: Portland has its chances but doesn't score in loss to Vancouver to begin club's 11th season in MLS.

COURTESY PHOTO: CRAIG MITCHELLDYER/PORTLAND TIMBERS - Felipe Mora and the Portland Timbers had their chances to score in Sunday's MLS season opener but lost 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps in a match played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.The goal: Lucas Cavallini found open space at the back post and drove a header past Steve Clark from a corner kick delivered by Gutierrez in the 49th minute.

The skinny: Missed scoring opportunities in the first half meant that one lost mark on the corner kick cost the Timbers a chance to start their 11th MLS season on a positive note.

In the first half, the Timbers had a Yimmi Chara goal called back because Felipe Mora was offside. Diego Valeri had chances in the 16th and 35th minutes. Late in the first half, Vancouver goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau made strong stops on a Dairon Asprilla shot from distance and on a Yimmi Chara header, a play on which Asprilla sent a rebound volley well over the bar.

Chances were difficult to come by in the second half, but Crepeau came up with a big left-handed save to deny Mora from close range in the 89th minute.

Lineup notes: Giovanni Savarese went with the same starting XI as in Portland's two Concacaf Champions League games. Goalkeeper Steve Clark was replaced in the 78th minute by Jeff Attinella. Clark appeared to take a knock to his left leg in a collision midway through the second half. Savarese said Clark should be fine. Portland remains without injured attackers Sebastian Blanco, Jeremy Ebobisse and Jaroslaw Niezgoda and winger Andy Polo.

Player of the match: Diego Chara. The only remaining player from the Timbers' inaugural 2011 MLS season, the ageless midfielder tied for the team lead in chances created (two). He completed 87% of his passes and was his usual energetic self.

Savarese said: "We had a lot of chances to be able to find the goal that we needed but we have to give credit to Vancouver. They've been focusing on this match, they sacrificed and worked hard. Overall, even though we did a lot of good things and we played well, we didn't capitalize on the opportunities that we had."

Up next: Houston at Portland, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24 (Fox 12 Plus TV).


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