Major League Soccer - Providence Park
04/12/2015: Clear, 11C/52F
Pre-game records: Portland Timbers (W1-D3-L1) vs. Orlando City SC (W1-D2-L2)
Portland Timbers – GLK Adam Larsen Kwarasey, DEF Alvas Powell, DEF Liam Ridgewell, DEF Nat Borchers, DEF Jorge Villafana, MID Rodney Wallace, MID Diego Chara, MID George Fochive, FWD Darlington Nagbe, FWD Maximiliano Urruti, FWD Fanendo Adi. Formation: 4-4-2.
Orlando City SC: GLK Donovan Ricketts, DEF Brek Shea, DEF Aurelien Collin, DEF Seb Hines, DEF Rafael Ramos, MID Amobi Okugo, MID Cristian Higuita, MID Carlos Rivas, MID Kaka, MID Kevin Molino, FWD Cyle Larin. Formation: 4-2-3-1.
Game 6 of the MLS season:
A stunning afternoon in the Rose City for a 2pm kick off and the home crowd will have felt confident after a well-deserved 3-1 victory over FC Dallas at home the previous week. Caleb Porter decided to go with the same starting 11 that beat FC Dallas keeping faith in the 4-4-2 system that served him so well that day. Diego Chara and George Fochive were immense in that victory and with Will Johnson still out injured, Coach Porter must have been delighted that these two worked so well in the center of midfield. Ridgewell and Borchers looked sturdy at the back and Villafana and Powell were always a threat as backup to Nagbe and Wallace.
Orlando City, after a promising start to the season, had not won in their past 3 games, losing at home to DC United and the Vancouver Whitecaps by a goal to nil and drawing away to Montreal Impact 2-2. Orlando Coach Adrian Heath decided to go with a 4-2-3-1 with Kaka playing his usual position in behind Cayle Larin looking to do what FC Dallas could not the previous week in beating the 4-4-2 of the Portland Timbers.
10 mins: After a bright opening from the Portland Timbers with some decent early possession, Rodney Wallace works a good space on the left hand side and slides in a medium height cross that Fanendo Adi does get his foot too but at an awkward height, he can only dink it over the crossbar. A minute later Orlando FC work a nice move into the Portland 18 yard box and Kevin Molino twists and turns inside the area but his shot is deflected for a corner. Within another minute, Orlando have a shout for a penalty kick denied as Molino scoops the ball up and it appears to hit the hand of Villafana. Nothing given. Possession was now certainly in favor of Orlando City.
18 mins: After some good pressure from Orlando City SC, Darlington Nagbe fires in a shot from the right hand side of the 18 yard area and Donovan Ricketts gets a strong hand to it and although it lands at the feet of Urruti, he finds himself in an offside position. Still 0-0.
28 mins: Alves Powell commits a cynical challenge on Higuita after he felt that he was fouled himself on the edge of the Orlando penalty area.
30 mins: It’s a goal for Orlando City SC as Molino gets free after an error from Villafana on the right hand side and crosses to Cyle Larin who finds himself unmarked in the 6 yard box and he chests it straight into the net. Portland Timbers 0-1 Orlando City SC.
36 mins: The Timbers obtained a free kick at the edge of the box after some nice work from George Fochive in what is now a rare attack but Darlington Nagbe fires the shot just over the left hand corner of the crossbar.
45 mins: Diego Chara found himself into the book as he pulls down Mulino who was on a breakaway from a Timbers corner that Chara and Powell worked well to obtain. Orlando City argued that he was the last man and they have a point, but the card was yellow. The half ends in a flurry of yellow cards as Ramos fouls Urruti in cynical fashion and the half ends with a frustrated Timbers being out passed by a competent Orlando side. Was Portland coach Porter going to stick with the 4-4-2 for the 2nd half of change it to combat the 5 man midfield of Orlando.
Half Time Score: Portland Timbers 0-1 Orlando City SC (Larin 30)
Shots: Portland Timbers 5-7 Orlando City SC
Possession: Portland Timbers 49%-51% Orlando City SC
45 mins: Caleb Porter brought in Jack Jewsbury for George Fochive to try to get a foothold in the game and work their possession game better in the 2nd half.
54 mins: Darlington Nagbe springs through the center of the Orlando defense but gets too much under the ball and scoops the shot over the bar from 20 yards out. That was a real chance for the home side to get back on level terms. Caleb Porter decides that it’s not working for Rodney Wallace today and brings on Dairon Asprilla to bring some more youth and pace into the attack.
68 mins: With Orlando City SC taking the foot off the gas and the Timbers obtaining better possession of the ball the home side squander a couple of half opportunities as first Adi puts a header over the bar from 8 yards out and then both he and Urruti have shots blocked by a resilient Orlando defense.
71 mins: The Timbers now beginning to come forward in waves and Nagbe springs through the center and slides in Asprilla who hits a first time shot that Ricketts manages to get glove to as it was heading towards the top left hand corner of the goal. Portland are just unable to find the back of the net now as they are slowly turning up the heat on the Orlando City defense.
77 mins: Darlington Nagbe again slid in a fine pass and this time it found Urruti 10 yards from goal but once again there is an Orlando leg outstretched to block the artillery being fired in. The home side had created plenty of good half chances in this 15 minute spell but were just unable to get around an excellent display at the back for the away side. Liam Ridgewell 2 minutes later performs a Cruyff turn to the delight of the home fans who had little to cheer about thus far.
82 mins: One last throw of the dice for Caleb Porter as he went 3 at the back and took off Jorge Villafana for Gaston Fernandez.
85 mins: PENALTY! Kwarasey brings down substitute Carlos Rivas and then saves it from Kaka but the referee insisted that there was some infringement and orders the penalty to be retaken to the dismay of the home fans and Caleb Porter. Second time around, Kaka makes no mistake and makes it 2-0. Portland Timbers 0-2 Orlando City SC.
90 mins: A wonderful turn by Jorge Villafana and he takes on 3 Orlando defenders but his shot is saved by former Timber Donovan Ricketts. Moments later Gaston Fernandez fires in a curling shot that just goes wide. The home side certainly had some chances in the second half but were just unable to convert them.
After a cagey first 10 minutes or so, Orlando City got into their passing game and controlled the first half as if they were the home side looking calm on the ball and Kaka seemed to be enjoying himself with some excellent vision and passing. The 4-4-2 formation that had suited Portland so well in the games against the Vancouver Whitecaps (even through defeat they had 66% of the possession) and FC Dallas, did not work well against the extra man in midfield in a side that thrives on possession like Orlando City.
With Diego Valeri and Club Captain Will Johnson still out injured, there was just a slight lack of drive and creativity through the Timbers midfield and being outnumbered made it difficult for the as little was created by the home side in the first half due to the pressure on the ball by Orlando. Coach Porter did some tinkering at half-time and Jack Jewsbury helped to obtain a higher share of possession and there was a 15-20 minute spell where the home side looked the most likely to score but the penalty kick with 5 minutes to go killed off the game. Credit to Orlando City, they came with a game plan to gain possession and frustrate and 2007 FIFA World Player Of The Year Kaka excelled in his role.
It will be interesting to see if Coach Porter sticks with the 4-4-2 for the next game at New York City or if he will revert back to the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Full Time Score: Portland Timbers 0-2 Orlando City SC (Larin 30, Kaka 85 Pen)
Shots: Portland Timbers 18 – 14 Orlando City SC
Possession: Portland Timbers 53% – 46% Orlando City SC