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News / Sports / Soccer

Late goal lifts Timbers over El Salvador team

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter
Published: August 3, 2016, 9:46pm

PORTLAND — A 90th-minute rebound goal from Diego Valeri lifted the Portland Timbers to a 2-1 win over CD Dragon of El Salvador on Wednesday in their opening match of the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League tournament.

Despite dominating the match at Providence Park, the Timbers needed an opportunistic finish as Valeri’s touch rolled just across the goal line inside the post as the Timbers scrambled after a game-winning goal.

Jack McInerney tapped home a pass from Valeri in the 21st minute to put Portland on the board. The Timbers created a number of first half chances including a shot off the bar from Fanendo Adi and a McInerney header from a corner kick that bounced over the cross bar.

The chances continued to come in the second half, but Dragon goalkeeper Henry Hernandez made a couple of timely saves and the Timbers could not find a finishing touch.

Dragon got an unlikely goal in the 76th minute. With the Timbers all over the visitors in the attacking third of the field, a long punt from the goalkeeper turned into a goal for Kenroy Howell on the counter-attack.

As he promised, Timbers coach Caleb Porter played a strong lineup. Of the available first-choice starters, only Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Melano were not in the starting lineup. Nagbe entered in the 66th minute, replacing Ned Grabavoy. Melano replaced McInerney in the 73rd minute.

The second-best chance for Dragon was a 52nd-minute header by Jamal Jack from a free kick that found the cross bar.

Vytas made his first start for the Timbers at left back after relieving the injured Zarek Vwalentin in the second half on Sunday.

The CONCACAF Champions League involves 24 teams from North America, Central American and the Caribbean.

The Timbers travel for their next two CCL matches. They visit CD Saprissa in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Sept. 14 and CD Dragon in Santa Tecia, El Salvador on Sept. 27.

They close the group phase by hosting Saprissa on Oct. 19.

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Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter