|Derrick Tellez was part of the game day festivities in the player procession|
The list of collective marks set in this match could fill any listing - Valeri's 2 goals not only continued his MLS record consecutive streak of matches with a goal at 9, but Valeri now sits at 20 goals scored in 2017, which make him the current leader in goals scored in MLS for 2017 and the MLS midfielder who has scored the most goals in a single season. Valeri's 20 goals are also the most scored by any Timbers player in any era as well, and with 3 matches left in 2017, he could obviously add more to his account. Portland also currently leads the Western Conference in goals scored with 53, putting them in 3rd overall in MLS tied with Chicago and trailing only Atlanta United and Toronto FC, and their 18 consecutive matches with a goal scored is the current longest streak in the league. While the litany of offensive records is impressive, the shutout also represents the team's sixth clean sheet in 2017 as the defense starts to find its rhythm in front of goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, who has been one of the players that has contributed to the current good form. Portland now sits in second place 1 point behind Vancouver with just 3 matches left to play: a road date with San Jose on September 30 and home dates with D.C. United (October 15) and the Whitecaps (October 22). With striker Fanendo Adi now back full time in training and defender Marco Farfan also nearing a return, Portland is now nearing full health at a time when they need all available player options at peak form and solidify their hold on one of the top 2 spots. The only downside to the remaining schedule is that most of the teams around the Timbers have 4 or 5 matches left to play, but their fixture dates are compressed in comparison against other teams with plenty to play for as well.
|Darren Mattocks and Jonathan Spector met up a lot in this match.|
For Orlando City, it's been a very up and down 2017 as OCSC Coach Jason Kreis has tried to figure out a consistent attack plan all season. Already possessing solid attackers in Kaka, Cyle Larin, Carlos Rivas and Giles Barnes, OCSC shocked most MLS experts when they traded for another striker with Sporting Kansas City in getting Dom Dwyer while also acquiring playmaking midfielder Dillon Powers to supplement the midfield. With former MLS Timber Will Johnson on suspension until further notice, Orlando City has been capable of being dangerous at points offensively. Defensively, the team has conceded 47 goals as they've yet to find a consistent backline outside of Jonathan Spector and Scott Sutter. That has left former MLS Timbers goalkeeper Joe Bendik facing a plethora of shots, but considering Bendik was on the 2012 Timbers that had several troubles along the backline, it's unfortunately familiar. Many insiders aren't sure if Kreis will remain in charge or how long Kaka will remain in Orlando City, but the fact is with the parts they had and they were still eligible for the postseason going in, the Timbers couldn't look past OCSC at all.
|Darlington Hagbe filled in for David Guzman. Very well.|
The scoreline could have been worse if not for Bendik's work in making several outstanding saves in traffic. Blanco, Mattocks and Valeri all had other chances that could have added to their tallies, too, but Bendik was able to keep the scoreline relatively close in some respects. OCSC was not able to muster much threats despite getting chances for Larin and Dwyer at points, but Attinella was able to hold the line well - making a stone cold leg save on Dwyer in the 86th minute when the game was out of reach. Much of the defensive credit should also go to Ridgewell, Mabiala, Valentin and Miller, who deflected several shots and passes to keep the clean sheet, while Nagbe, Blanco, Asprilla and Chara came back to provide tons of support when needed. Asprilla, Blanco, Chara and Nagbe also created several turnovers by directly stealing the ball or intercepting passes at key points, but what was more impressive was the accuracy and frequency of Timbers passes. For several long sequences, Portland was able to pass from right to left, forward and backwards for several passes and then wait for a break to attack. It was artistry in motion at points, and this effort couldn't have come at a better time. Portland was aided somewhat when Spector was ejected in the 47th minute for his second caution while Orlando City lost another player, OCSC substitute defender Victor Giro, to a straight red card in the 84th minute for a violent foul on Miller.
|Diego Valeri has lots of records now, but I think he wants another cup.|