The Portland Timbers remain very much in the hunt in the Western Conference, and they furthered their case on Saturday thanks to yet another goal from Diego Valeri.
The Argentinian star fired a goal in his seventh consecutive match, leading the Timbers to a 1-0 winner over NYCFC at Yankee Stadium. The win sees the Timbers extend their unbeaten run to four while NYCFC fell at home for the first time in 10 matches.
NYCFC’s loss all but ends the club’s Supporters’ Shield push thanks to Toronto FC’s win earlier on Saturday while the Timbers continue to battle for the top spot in the West.
Just moments before halftime, the Timbers broke through following several squandered chances from NYCFC. Darren Mattocks, who started at forward over Fanendo Adi, took the ball off Andrea Pirlo and found a streaking Diego Valeri in the box. The Argentinian star punished the hosts with a simple finish past Sean Johnson to put the Timbers ahead.
The goal saw Valeri extend his goalscoring streak to seven consecutive matches.
NYCFC was playing with several noticeable absences, and it showed throughout the match. David Villa remained out of action with an injury while the absence of Alexander Ring and Yangel Herrera softened the NYCFC midfield.
The hosts had chances of their own throughout the opening half, but the team’s reluctance to pull the trigger came back to bite them. One instance saw Maxi Moralez get through before being hacked down by David Guzman while Jack Harrison’s unselfish ball across the box a few minutes later was cleared away.
Both sides had solid looks in the second half, but the best came late as Sean Johnson stepped up with a spectacular stop on Valeri for one of his seven saves on the day. On the other end, Jeff Attinella made just three stops.
Following the win, the Timbers look ahead to next weekend’s visit to Real Salt Lake while NYCFC will look to bounce back with their own trip to Colorado to take on the Rapids.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Darren Mattocks set up Diego Valeri for the game-deciding goal, giving the Timbers a massive win against a non-conference foe.
MATCH TO FORGET
Andrea Pirlo was noticeably frustrated when Darren Mattocks tripped him of the ball, and that frustration got the best of him as he failed to get back on the Timbers’ lone goal.