Timbers stun Club América with 97th-minute equalizer

by Charlie Folkestad

Portland’s first Concacaf Champions League knockout stage tie

The first half-chance went to Felipe Mora, who couldn’t control a ball over his head from Dairon Asprilla in the 3′. Mora earned the first caution of the match in the 18′.

The first shot of the match didn’t come until the 20′, as América’s Mauro Laínez scuffed an ambitious effort well wide. José Martínez fired a much better shot in the 23′ that forced Jeff Attinella into a tough save down to his right.

In the first half, Portland struggled to create quick buildup play when they did win the ball back from Club América.

América’s right winger, Leonardo Suárez, received a yellow card in the 33′ for a little extra contact thrown at Dairon Asprilla.

Speaking of contact, América center back Sebástian Cáceres could have received a yellow of his own for heading Mora in the, well, head in the 38′. Dario Župarić would receive one in the 40′ for a rough challenge on Suárez, and he will be suspended for the second leg in Mexico City.

The decisive moment came just before halftime. Claudio Bravo lunged in on Richard Sánchez and missed the ball, giving up an ultra-costly penalty in the process.

Roger Martínez calmly slid the penalty past Attinella and América had a massive 1-0 lead in Providence Park.

Portland’s energy was demonstrably better to start the second half, and it nearly culminated in a worldie from Dairon Asprilla in the 50′.

Yimmi Chará would lift the ball over Memo Ochoa in the 57′, but his effort drifted just wide of the far post.

The game was getting extremely physical in the second half. Players were flying into challenges all-out and giving it their all. The result was nine total yellow cards, with

Portland’s pressure simmered down as the second half wore on, but the intensity continued to rise. Substitutions ca

And then, as the game was literally seconds from ending…a gift.

A scramble in the box produced a handball penalty. Felipe Mora put it in the same corner as Martínez and the match was square at one apiece.

Maybe the most competitive and entertaining night of soccer so far this year (in this hemisphere) ended with flashes, bangs, and a late goal.

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