Cristian Techera’s goal in the 43rd minute stood up as the winner as the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps beat the Portland Timbers 2-1 Saturday night at Providence Park.
Techera, a winger who stands 5-foot-2, gave the Caps an insurmountable 2-0 lead, heading in Brek Shea’s cross from the right flank.
The Whitecaps (9-9-6, 33 points) handed the Timbers (10-4-7, 37 points) their first loss in 16 matches. The Timbers were denied a chance to break the club-record 15-match unbeaten streak that they tied this season and first set in 2013. It was their first loss at Providence Park this season.
Kei Kamara also tallied for the Whitecaps. Diego Valeri converted one of his two penalty-kicks for Portland.
Kamara opened the scoring in the 14th minute as he headed in central defender Kendall Waston’s long, high lead pass.
After Techera scored his decisive goal, the Timbers had a chance to narrow the gap in first-half added time as Waston was called for taking down Valeri in the Vancouver box. But Valeri put his penalty-kick wide of the left post.
However, Valeri received a chance to make up for his miscue in the 71st minute. Caps defender Sean Franklin put a hand on Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco and he went down in the Vancouver area, earning Portland another penalty-kick. This time, Valeri made no mistake, putting his shot inside the left post to cut the Caps’ lead in half.
Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic guessed wrong and dove the other way.
The goal came after the Whitecaps had withstood Portland’s strong charge at the start of the second half. Marinovic made a point-blank save on Alvas Powell in the 59th minute. About six minutes later, the Whitecaps lost left back Brett Levis, who made his first MLS start, as he blocked a shot with his ribs.
He was replaced by Marcel de Jong.
The Whitecaps received a scare in the 81st minute as Marinovic, suffered an apparent knee injury. He was tended by a trainer for a few minutes, and it appeared that Vancouver might have to replace him with an outfield player, because coach Carl Robinson had already used his third and final substitution with de Jong’s insertion.
But Marinovic managed to stay in - and that proved to be unfortunate for the Timbers. In the 90th minute, he preserved the win by punching away a Valeri free kick that was headed for the top right corner of the net.
Before Saturday, the Timbers had not lost since April 8 at Orlando City.
—Field Level Media