Diego Chara, Kenny Cooper and Darlington Nagbe all scored as the Portland Timbers beat the New England Revolution 3-0 on Friday night at JELD-WEN Field.
The loss snapped the Revolution’s (5-12-12, 27 pts.) modest four-game unbeaten run, while the Timbers (10-12-6, 36 pts.) claimed their 10th win to climb past D.C. United into the final wildcard playoff spot.
Portland opened the scoring in just the ninth minute when Chara snuck through New England’s backline to bag his second goal of the season. Lovel Palmer’s right-wing cross found Chara as he arrived late into the box and the Colombian pushed the ball between a pair of defenders before toe poking his shot inside the right post, just past charging Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis.
Milton Caraglio almost engineered an immediate response for the Revs in the 13th minute. The Argentine used a clever turn at the top of the box to set up a ferocious volley with his left foot and forced Perkins into a smart save, diving low to his left.
The Timbers extended their lead to 2-0 in the 32nd minute when Cooper buried his fifth goal of the season from close range. Again the scoring sequence began on the right wing as a long cross found Mike Chabala at the back post. Chabala settled before lashing a cross into the middle with the outside of his right foot, finding Cooper, who redirected the pass into the roof of the net with his hip.
Palmer almost had a third for Portland before the halftime break, but his 20-yard drive hit the face of the right post and his follow-up effort blazed over the crossbar in the 38th minute.
New England didn’t completely escape the first half without further damage, however, as forward Rajko Lekic limped off with a left ankle injury to be replaced by Zack Schilawski in stoppage time.
The Revs threatened shortly after the interval when Caraglio directed a left-footed shot over the crossbar, the chance arriving in the 51st minute as Monsef Zerka set him up with a clever cushion header. Nine minutes later Zerka crossed for Shalrie Joseph, whose header flew inches high.
After New England failed to cut the deficit in half, Portland upped its lead to 3-0 in the 66th minute. Kalif Alhassan was given time and space to line up a curling left-wing cross, which found Nagbe free near the penalty spot. The Timbers rookie rose unchallenged to guide a header just inside the right post.
Second-half substitute Bright Dike almost had a fourth for the Timbers in the 81st minute when he rounded Reis, but Darrius Barnes was on hand to clear Dike’s tight-angle shot from danger.