Timbers

Portland Timbers escape Group F undefeated, draw LAFC 2-2

Timbers

Down a goal, Portland forward Jeremy Ebobisse scored for the third consecutive game by redirecting a shot into the back of the net in the 81st minute to equalize the Timbers with LAFC, 2-2.

With the draw, the Timbers will leave Group F undefeated (2-0-1 in Orlando) to set up a match with FC Cincinnati in the Round of 16 of the MLS is Back Tournament.  

Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese, with Portland having secured a spot in the knockout stage after winning their first two games, benched some of his best players against LAFC.

Diego Valeri, needing one goal to join the 80 goals, 80 assists club, replaced Andy Polo in the 68th minute while Jeremy Ebobisse did not enter the match until the 59th minute. 

Despite that, Portland did hold a lead to begin the game when Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored in the 7th minute of his first career MLS start.

The Timbers acquired Niezgoda as a Designated Player via transfer from Legia Warsaw on January 30, 2020. Heading into the evening, he had only played in two games, totaling 31 minutes, but perhaps with a start under his belt, Savarese will play him more in the knockout stage of the tournament. 

His lead would not hold, however, as the aggressive attack of the defending Supporters Shield Champions LAFC, who set an MLS record with 72 points last season, was too much for Portland to overcome in the remainder of the first half.

 

A rocket from Bradley Wright-Phillips and a header off a corner kick from Mark-Anthony Kaye gave LAFC a 2-1 halftime lead.

In the 78th minute, Ebobisse had a shot inside the 18 off a cross from Valeri but the potential game-tying shot was not on frame, but just three minutes later he gave his squad the equalizer.

Had LAFC maintained its halftime lead, then it would have set up a Cascadia rivalry game between Portland and the Seattle Sounders. However, with the result, LAFC will play Seattle in the Round of 16 of the MLS is Back Tournament instead.

Portland will play FC Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 28th at 7:30 p.m. PT. in the knockout stage of the MLS is Back Tournament.