Portland Timbers continued their climb up the overall MLS table with a surprise 2-1 win over Eastern Conference side Toronto at BMO Field
The Timbers had to comeback from a goal down after Jonathan Osorio had scored first for the Canadian side, but a goal each in both halves from Bill Tuiloma and Jeremy Ebobisse helped them seal a crucial win.
Both sides had drawn only one of their last seven meetings in the MLS, with all the other six yielding wins for either one of them. Toronto had won four, while Portland had won just as many.
Greg Vanney’s side started the game well and did take a lead through Osorio in the 20th minute. Eriq Zavaleta had won a corner for them and the resulting set piece taken by Alejandro Pozuelo was allowed to bobble around in the box by the Timbers. As the away side failed to clear, it was Osorio who notched up a typical poacher’s goal.
While Portland had conceded first five times out of their seven games before the game this season, they responded very well to going behind.
That too came from a corner. Diego Valeri’s corner fell to Tuiloma, whose sensational strike from a volley directly from the corner handed the Timbers a big equalizer. It was the New Zealander’s first goal of the season.
And the Timbers piled the pressure on through the rest of the half, winning multiple corners and always looking threatening on the attack.
That pressure paid off in the second as Toronto were made to pay for their problems at the back.
Sebastian Blanco’s decisive cross met the head of Ebobisse, who directed it goalwards and the found the back of the net in the 70th minute to hand the visitors a big lead with twenty minutes to be played.
This was the Paris-born American’s fourth goal of the season as he currently leads the goalscoring charts for Savarese’s men.
Toronto did threaten towards the end of the game and had a big chance of their own in the 81st minute. Pozuelo, who was unusually quiet in the game, found the head of Ayo Akinola who managed to loop the header over Steve Clarke’s goal.
This was Portland’s second win in just as many games following a disappointing start to the season that had left them rock bottom of the league.
The two wins have now lifted them to tenth in the table with seven points, just three points adrift of seventh-placed Real Salt Lake- the side they face next in the league next Sunday followed by a tie against Vancouver Whitecaps.
This was also Toronto’s second loss of the season, two weeks after having suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Seatle Sounders in a game that saw Jozy Altidore grab a brace.
The Reds remained fourth in the league despite the loss and have two games in hand over all the other six sides in the top seven. Their next game sees them travel to Orlando followed by a game against rock-bottom Atlanta United.