It was a memorable night for soccer fans in Portland as the Timbers hosted their first home game of the season and beat the Chicago Fire 4-2 for their first ever MLS victory.
There is something special about the atmosphere that the fans in the Pacific Northwest create. The wall of noise coming from the the Timbers Army in the north end of JELD-WEN Field made this seem like a top European night instead of a MLS game.
First-half goals from Jorge Perlaza and Rodney Wallace gave the Timbers a 2-0 advantage at halftime. Perlaza struck again three minutes into the second half, before the Fire were able to pull two back and make things interesting. But a fourth goal in the 84th minute iced the match.
Portland got off to a great start in the 29th minute when Colombia striker Perlaza has struggled to convert chances so far this season, scored the first-ever goal at JELD-WEN. He ran onto a pass from Kalif Alhassan, cut back against a defender and onrushing Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, and fired into an empty net.
Nine minutes later it was 2-0 as ewsbury’s free kick into the box was not cleared by the Fire defense and Wallace smashed the loose ball into the net from 20 yards.
Portland fans were in heaven three minutes into the second half when Wallace’s cross bounced away from Johnson and Perlaza pounced on on the loose ball and tapped it into the net.
Eventually Chicago did come into the game and an own goal from Eric Brunner and one from Pappa in the 81st minute cut the lead to one and could have made for a few nervous moments for Timbers fans.
But three minutes after Pappa’s goal, a moment of chaos in front of the Fire goal after another Jewsbury corner kick ended when defender Dasan Robinson knocked the ball into his own goal.
The win moves the Timbers into a tie for 7th place in the West, while Chicago, who will rue the defensive mistakes that cost them the game, remain in 8th place in the East.
In case you missed it, here are the highlights of the game:
photo credit: ghindo