Timbers salvage home point in rock fight versus Orlando

by Charlie Folkestad
Eryk Williamson made his long-awaited return for Portland in the 86th minute.

The Portland Timbers drew Orlando City SC 1-1 at home after a wild second half Sunday afternoon.

“At least we got a point,” Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “We worked really hard, especially with 10 men.”

Junior Urso’s 52nd minute goal off an assist from Alexandre Pato gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at Providence Park, and they looked to have a win in the bag after Josecarlos Van Rankin was sent off in the 76th minute.

However, Cristhian Paredes drew and converted a penalty kick to tie the game in the 80th minute.

“In the moment I saw Yimmi run in front of me,” Paredes said through a translator. “Fortunately they put a foot on me and I was able to draw the foul.”

Sebastian Blanco opened up the game immediately following his arrival in the 62nd minute. He created two big chances and nearly finished the match-winner with the final kick of the match (it was saved well by Mason Stajduhar).

“We still looked good in the 4-3-2 with 10 men and Seba almost found that goal,” Gio offered.

All seven of the game’s yellow cards came after Blanco’s arrival, as did most of the night’s expected goals.

Portland looked the more likely to score in the first half, but Paredes’ 30th minute header sailed just wide of the far post. The home team held 58% of the ball in the first 45 minutes.

Zac McGraw had a strong 90 alongside new center back partner Dario Zuparic, who returned from injury to replace Bill Tuiloma. McGraw finished with 10 clearances, including a vital poke in the six-yard box that saved a would-be goal, and won all five of his aerial duels.

“I thought we were very good defensively,” Savarese said. “I wouldn’t put that goal on the [center backs].”

Eryk Williamson made his long-awaited return to the pitch, replacing Santiago Moreno in the 86th minute.

“Words can’t describe it,” Williamson said. “It’s been a long recovery.”

Williamson and Moreno have never shared the pitch in a match for the Timbers — Williamson was out injured by the time Moreno was signed last year. Williamson said the two have developed a relationship on the practice field.

“We have little combinations in training,” he said. “I’m excited to share the pitch with him.”

Match notes

Orlando City were without a pair of key South American players for World Cup Qualifiers. Pedro Gallese (GK, Peru) and Facundo Torres (winger, Uruguay) were replaced by Stajduhar and Tesho Akindele, respectively.

Diego Chara entered the match needing six fouls to take hold of the league’s all-time record. He had three in the first half (all against Pereyra) but stayed clean in the second.

Paredes announced that he and his wife are pregnant with a baby girl. His goal celebration (with the ball in his shirt) said as much.

You may also like

Leave a Comment