At the halfway point of the Major League Soccer season, the Portland Timbers were in need of some momentum. Saturday night, they got it.
Thanks to goals from Dairon Asprilla, Yimmi Chara and Felipe Mora, along with a career-high seven saves from goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic, the Timbers held off Real Salt Lake, winning 3-2.
Home Sweet Home
At Providence Park, the Timbers have been dominant. This season, they have put together a 6-2-1 record in the friendly confines. In fact, they extended their unbeaten streak to 3-0-1 at home with the victory Saturday night.
Portland is tied with Minnesota for second-most home wins in the Western Conference (6), behind the LA Galaxy (7).
Half of the team's remaining games (8 of 16) are at Providence Park, which is a big positive for their playoff hopes.
Felipe Mora. Getting the job done
Felipe Mora scored his team-leading sixth goal of the 2021 season Saturday, after registering a goal in three straight home matches. Across the Timbers’ last five games, the forward has scored in four of them. To say the least, Mora has been the spark the team has needed.
If you have a minute, make sure you vote for Mora's stunning goal, which is up for MLS Goal of the Week!
Team of the Week
A huge part of this weekend's clutch victory over RSL was due to the play of midfielder Dairon Asprilla and goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic.
Asprilla had a goal and an assist in the match, scoring from the penalty spot in the 10th minute and providing a spectacular backheel pass to Yimmi Chara's in his 29th minute goal.
In his first start at Providence Park, Ivacic made a career-high seven saves on the night. His stellar performance in net included a clutch diving denial of an Albert Rusnak missile in the second half of stoppage time.
On Monday, both Asprilla and Ivacic were named to the Major League Soccer Team of the Week.
Help is on the way
Last month, the team announced that they acquired midfielder Santiago Moreno. He joins the club from América de Cali of the Categoría Primera A, the top flight in Colombia.
“There has been a lot of interest in Santiago Moreno from many teams, so the fact that he decided to come to Portland makes us feel special,” said Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese. “We are all excited to have a talented player coming here that will provide us many great assets but still has room to develop, and I believe that Portland is a very good place for him to continue to grow.”
On Monday, the team posted an update on Twitter.
Per the Timbers' press release, Moreno, 21, has played three seasons for América de Cali. The Cali, Colombia native made his professional debut in Categoría Primera A on August 25, 2019 at the age of 18, and has made 52 appearances across all competitions with the club.
The Timbers welcome in their biggest rival, the Seattle Sounders FC, to Providence Park this Sunday, August 15. Kickoff is set for 5:55pm PT.