For 90 minutes and some change, the Timbers dominated and led New England. But second-half stoppage time seemed to go on forever and controversy handed the Revolution the game-tying goal.
As the clock hit 90 minutes, the fourth referee indicated there would be a minimum of four minutes of stoppage time. Usually, the refs stay close to that number. But not this night.
The two teams would end up playing almost nine minutes of extra time, and it was those extra five that doomed the Timbers.
Fans at Providence Park anticipated the whistle after a New England corner kick in the 94th minute, but instead, the two squads would play on. During the ensuing New England attack there appeared to be a foul in the box. However, the referee didn't blow his whistle. Bullet dodged... nope. After what felt like minutes of action the refs finally blew his whistle to indicate a video review. The review led to a New England penalty kick. The penalty kick led to New England tying the game. The tie led to Portland watching a pivotal three-points slip away.
The call itself was controversial. The time it took the ref to call for the review was controversial. The end result, was, wait for it... controversial.
Portland could have ended the night in fifth place with two games remaining. Instead, they find themselves in seventh place, a tie with FC Dallas, and in real danger of ending the season below the red line.
Next up, Sporting Kansas City, one of the worst teams in the Western Conference and the last team Portland beat. Three points are there for the taking, and unless a controversial stoppage-time call keeps Portland at bay, the Timbers should to rise to the occasion.
Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm on Sunday, September 29th in Kansas City.
Finally back on the board
Even in a controversial result, there can be a silver lining. It took nearly three weeks, but the Timbers finally were able to get back on the scoreboard. Portland picked up a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on September 7th, but since then had been held scoreless in three straight matches. It took 49 minutes, but Jeremy Ebobisse finally gave the Timbers Army a reason to let off the green and gold smoke.
Ebobisse would go on to score a brace on the night, which is usually a sign of a side that picked up the victory, but you already know how this one unfolded
After months of back and forth, Major League Soccer finally sided with the fans and lifted a ban on the Iron Front symbol. The Symbol has been at the center of a heated debate between free speech and political ideology.
Fans used it to take a stand against fascism and racism, while the league said it violated a ban on political symbols due to it being linked to the far-left group Antifa.
After much debate with supporters, the league decided to lift the ban for the remainder of the season while they worked with supporters on a revised code of conduct.
Said Mark Abbott, MLS president and deputy commissioner, “as part of this decision to update the Fan Code of Conduct for 2020, MLS has suspended the prohibition on the Iron Front imagery at matches for the balance of the 2019 season and MLS Cup Playoffs while the working group conducts its analysis."
Sun setting on Valeri?
Following tonight's match, the Timbers have just one home game left on the regular-season schedule. Usually, this would lead to excitement as the Timbers prepare for another deep run in the playoffs. However, this time around they have something else weighing heavy on the mind - Will it be the last home match for superstar Diego Valeri?
Valeri is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, and according to reports from Taylor Twellman of ESPN, negotiations between Valeri and the club had stalled.
The Timbers have an option to pick up his contract for 2020, but according to those reports Valeri was hoping for a new two-year deal. While he wanted to sign a deal before the summer, the team wanted to see how he held up physically through the season.
With no new deal signed, and the Timbers looking at options for 2020, it could mean that the end of Valeri's storied career with the Timbers is coming to a close.
Valeri is 33-years old, but this season he has shown he has plenty of gas left in the tank. If his time in Portland is indeed coming to an end, it means saying goodbye to one of the greatest Timbers of all time.