Wild Finish in Providence Park Sees Timbers Fall 2-1 to LAFC

Photo Credit: Portland Timbers

The Portland Timbers lost in the dying moments of the match this Sunday against LAFC. Portland entered the match needing a draw or better in order to secure a spot in the postseason. The Timbers were moments away from securing a draw until Dénis Bouanga scored in the 95th minute for LAFC. The win for LAFC earns them the best record in the MLS and the Supporters’ Shield for the second time in four years.

It was a hot day at Providence Park, and both teams were feeling the pressure of the end of the regular season. Both teams looked to take an early advantage, but the first quality chance came deep into the first half of the match. At the 32nd minute, Carlos Vela corralled a deep pass at the top of the box for LAFC. Aljaz Ivacic came out to attempt to play the ball, but could not contest Carlos Vela. Vela turned to shoot, but the Timbers got bodies in front of the net just in time. Vela’s shot would deflect wide, and the game would remain scoreless.

The second half was where the intensity of this match turned up to eleven. At 48:58, Portland would get their first quality chance. Jaroslaw Niezgoda’s left-footed shot from just inside the penalty arch was a laser. Maxime Crépeau would make a diving save, and the rebound would be swept away.

One minute later, LAFC would find another window of offense. Kellyn Acosta got a pass well outside the box. He would find Carlos Vela on the other side of the field with space. Vela would take one touch and rip a left-footed shot towards the top of the net. Ivacic would go airborne to get a hand on the shot, but it wouldn’t be enough. Vela’s shot would power though and LAFC would lead 1-0.

Los Angeles showed great resilience throughout the match. Every time Portland had momentum, LAFC would find a way to respond. In the 70th minute, Portland had back-to-back chances to score. Timbers midfielder, Cristhian Paredes, would have a chance from in close get blocked by the LAFC defense. Then, seconds later, Claudio Bravo would have a header attempt hit the crossbar and be cleared away. The following possession for LAFC, Cristian Arango would have a run towards the outside lane. Ivacic would make the save and keep the game within reach.

In the 81st minute, the Timbers finally found their breakthrough moment. Claudio Bravo from distance would cross the ball into the box. Dairon Asprilla would split defenders and find a header at the top of the goal area. Maxime Crépeau could not react in time, and the game would be tied at 1-1.

A massive moment in the game was in the 86:13. Kwadwo Opoku would slip just behind Claudio Bravo on a low-centering pass. Bravo and Opoku would make contact, and Opoku would hit the ground. After long deliberation, VAR decision was reached and no penalty was called.

Portland may have evaded a potential penalty shot, but LAFC was still on the prowl. Four minutes into stoppage time, Dénis Bouanga would split defenders and fire a shot from in close. His shot would deflect off Bill Tuiloma, who was shifting over to assist the Timbers defense. The shot would ricochet off Tuiloma’s leg, and bounce into the net to give LAFC the lead. Portland would hold possession for the rest of the game, but could not find an equalizer.

After the match, Timbers Head Coach Giovanni Savarese said he felt, “Heartbroken. How can I say anything else? Because we played very well.” When asked about his thoughts on the match, Claudio Bravo said, “It’s unfortunate, but we’re just going to move forward and look forward toward the next game to get a result there.”

Portland’s last game of the regular season is Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. against Real Salt Lake.