The Portland Timbers gained their first win of the young MLS season after a slow start.
Oregon Live is reporting that Timbers coach Caleb Porter wanted to give his team a spark. Maximiliano Urruti, an effective late-game substitute in 2014 for the Timbers, was given the chance to spark the team.
Porter’s choice was sound. Urruti scored the game-winning goal as Portland (1-1-3. six points) handed FC Dallas (3-1-1, 10 points) its first defeat of the young 2015 season, 3-1.
“We’re off and running now,” Porter said. “This is the first win of many. It feels good. The weight is lifted. We’ll play even better now.”
Porter has been trying to find an adequate lineup since the Timbers lost Diego Valeri to a torn ACL. Valeri led the Timbers with 11 goals and 14 assists in 2014, and was vital to Portland’s offensive threat.
“We have Valeri out,” Porter said. “He’s one of the best players in the league. He’s certainly our best player, one of our best players. Right now, I felt that to be effective it made sense to go more 4-4-2 and put two guys up top that can create problems and press and be a handful.”
The loss of Valeri, coupled with many other Timbers’ injuries, forced Porter to start Urruti alongside Fanendo Adi. The two have rarely played together.
“I think it’s still a work in progress,” Porter said. “They haven’t played together a lot… but right now, with the situation we’re in, it’s probably our best way to go in terms of being an effective team that can get points and score goals and get results and put pressure on teams.”
According to MLS Soccer, Portland’s Nat Borchers and Diego Chara also opened their 2015 accounts. Borchers opened the scoring for the game, scoring with a header off a corner kick past FC Dallas goalie Chris Seitz. FC Dallas scored the equalizer in the 30th minutes off a corner kick, as well. Atiba Harris headed the corner kick into the path of a sprinting Tesho Akindele, netting the goal for his second of the season.
The Timbers retook the lead, when in the 62nd minute, substitute Dairon Asprilla drove a cross to Urruti, who was able to stab the ball past Seitz for the lead. Chara completed the scoring in the 86th minute, taking a pass from Adi behind the FC Dallas defense and blasting it past Seitz.
FC Dallas goes back home to host the Colorado Rapids on Friday night. Portland will host the expansion Orlando City SC on Sunday in a nationally televised game at 5 p.m. EST on ESPN 2 and ESPN Deportes.
[Image courtesy of the Oregonian]