Timbers fight hard but fall to Club América in Azteca, 3-1

by Charlie Folkestad

The Portland Timbers fell to Club América in Estadio Azteca Wednesday night after a gritty performance.

Portland fought hard, but the exhausted Timbers were no match for the Mexican giants. Two goals from Federico Viñas sealed the deal for Club América, who now advance to face the Philadelphia Union in the semifinals. 

Match Recap

América threatened first, with Jeff Attinella making multiple key saves before Viñas rose to direct a beautiful ball into the  back of the net. In the 21′, it was 1-0. 

Fidalgo was inches from doubling the lead in the 28′, but his shot was just over the bar. 

Despite winning four fouls in the attacking half, Portland couldn’t register a shot on target. In fact, they had just one shot total. 

There was plenty of space for both teams going forward, but Portland were either too tired or too confused to use it. The Timbers resorted to lobbing in crosses toward the end of the first half, which 

It wouldn’t take long for the shooting drought to end. Mora turned quickly to fire a shot at Ochoa’s far post, but it was saved fairly easily. On the other end, Attinella was forced into a save of his own less than a minute later. 

Diego Chará registered a rare shot on goal from distance in the 49′, but he couldn’t beat Ochoa. Portland were certainly on the front foot to begin the half, though. 

Yimmi Chará had a go from the same spot as his brother in the 53′, but Portland’s confidence took a quick turn.

With open space abound, Leo Suarez found enough room to zig and zag at Bravo. Bravo played him tough but was dragged down by Suarez in the box. A questionable call at best, VAR confirmed the contact and Viñas’ penalty barely slipped under Attinella, who guessed perfectly.

Not five minutes later, the Timbers had their make-up call. Mora fired a shot that was saved by Ochoa, but the follow-through from Luis Fuentes was deemed to be a penalty. Valeri stepped up and blasted the shot past Ochoa, and the match was back on.

With the Timbers needing just one unanswered goal to win the series, they pressured América high and allowed Leo Suarez to find more space on the right. He cut inside, took a touch, and fired a shot from outside the box. One big deflection later, his shot rolled past the outstretched Attinella to give América the 4-2 aggregate lead. 

Jeremy Ebobisse made his first contribution of the series right after coming on, flying into his teammate Valeri for a header. He offered more of a threat than Asprilla had, but Portland still struggle to get shots off.

Even when Mora found himself in golden opportunities, he couldn’t pull the trigger. 

Suarez could have really put the tie to bed in the 86′, but the crossbar spared the Timbers. The referees did not. Three minutes were given for a half full of fouls, penalties, and plenty of injuries. 

By the end of it, the Timbers had fought valiantly, but not valiantly enough. A 4-2 aggregate defeat was certainly not the worst we could have hoped for, but it also could have been a lot worse. 

 

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