Portland Timbers finally had scored, after over three games and a half, two second half goals at home finally broke Portland’s 318 minute scoreless streak. New England snagged a goal back late in the match, and then mayhem occurred.
Inside Providence Park, there was no announcement of the amount of added time. Usually it’s announced to the stadium and shown on the screen at halftime and after the full time. After 90 minutes inside Providence there was no indication of the amount of added time, which lead to a tone of confusion. Then there was a NE cross in the box and a player fell, play went on, a minute later the ref went to VAR, awarded a PK in favor of the visitors in the 96th minute, and the PK was scored in the 98th minute.
It wasn’t until after the match that everyone in the stadium found out that only four minutes of added time were given and the time of the VAR review, PK, and everything else was well after the 6th minute of added time.
Wednesday night’s clash between the Portland Timbers and New England Revolution had two teams battling for playoff spots in their respective conferences. The visiting Revolution sat in the 7th and final playoff spot in the East, while Portland entered the game in 8th and just outside a playoff spot with three games to go.
Right from the start, the atmosphere in the stadium gave you goosebumps as the crowd, now resolving their issues with the MLS over which flags they were allowed to bring, brought an energy that had been missing from Portland over the last few weeks.
Right from kickoff, Portland came out with a more aggressive formation, changing from their 4-2-3-1, in which they play with two pivots and a free role play maker behind the forward, for tonight they switched to a 4-1-2-3 on offense, as Sebastian Blanco stretching the defense wide, and Diego Valeri more tucked in, allowing Jorge Moreira more space on the right side of the field. This also changed their defensive shape, as the team would move into a 4-3-2-1 behind the ball.
While Portland had the better of the ball in the first half, it wasn’t until the 21st minute that they were able to create a real chance as Jeremy Ebobisse found himself on goal, only for his chance to fall soft to Brad Knighton in goal off great defending from Andrew Farrell.
A free kick save from Steve Clark, which deflected off the foot of his own defender in the wall, allowed Portland to keep the games 0-0.
The first half ended 0-0 but finally, in the 49th minute off a Ebobisse header, the Timbers got on the score sheet and ended their 318 minute scoreless streak.
It was only a few minutes later that it looked like Ebobisse doubled his goal tally only for his shot to be ruled offsides. Portland though, finally looked to be playing with confidence and an edge to them that had been missing in the final third for the past few games.
Credit for that should go to the work that Cristhian Paredes and Andy Polo did in the midfield, providing support to the attacking three, while making sure to recover and help Diego Chara cover the backline.
Portland though, were unable to get a second goal when they had the run of play, and it almost came back to haunt them in the 79th minute when Clark was forced into a beautiful save off a volley from outside the box from Revs midfielder, Scott Caldwell.
It was only a minute later that a Valeri cross was missed by a diving header attempt from Ebobisse, only for the back of his cleat to find contact with the ball and sneak into the near post to double his tally, and the score.
New England would pull one back as Bou found the back of the net off a counter, making for a tense final four plus minutes in Portland. It was only a few minutes later that Teal Bunbury found himself with a chance in front of goal to level the score, only for his attempt to be saved from Clark.
In the 90th minute, after a video review, New England were rewarded with a PK that Carles Gil buried to give NE the draw.
After the match, boos rained down the stadium as Timbers players and coaches stormed the ref after the PK was given in the 6th minute of added time, when only four minutes were added. All of this left the players and coaches feeling the game was more of a defeat than a draw for the home side.