In what had to be considered a must-win game for both MLS teams, it was the Portland Timbers that came through with a 2-0 home win over Toronto FC on Wednesday night.
The Timbers had lost four straight coming into the game and needed a win to get back into the playoff race. They got just that.
With the win, Portland (11-7-7, 40 points) is on the positive side of the Western Conference playoff race in fifth place, while the loss for Toronto (7-13-6, 27 points) kept the team well back of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Portland took a 1-0 lead when Diego Chara took a pass from Sebastian Blanco and slid it past Toronto goalie Clint Irwin in the 62nd minute. It was a fitting assist as Blanco had been dominating the second half for Portland, with three solid scoring chances in just over a minute earlier in the half.
David Guzman salted it away in the 83rd minute when he picked the pocket of Michael Bradley 25 yards out from the Toronto goal, came in on Irwin and put it away for the 2-0 lead.
Early in the second half, Blanco nearly got Portland its first goal. A shot he took was deflected by Irwin, and the rebound hit defender Justin Morrow, nearly rolling into the net for an own goal.
The scoreless first half saw Portland have the better run of play, outshooting Toronto 7-3, but it was Toronto that had the best scoring chance of the first 45 minutes early in the game.
It was in the 10th minute, when Lucas Janson took a pass from Ryan Telfer and redirected a shot from 6 yards out that hit the post. The shot had Portland goalie Jeff Attinella fooled, but the post kept the game scoreless.
—Field Level Media