In their final match of the 2016 regular season, the Portland Timbers fell 4-1 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC before 24,083 fans at BC Place on Sunday afternoon. Midfielder Diego Valeri tallied a goal midway through the second half for the Timbers, recording a career-high 14th MLS goal in 2016.
After conceding a pair of goals in the first half, and two additional finishes in a two-minute stretch early in the second half, the Timbers found the back of the net from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute when Valeri converted, sending goalkeeper David Ousted the opposite direction. The Timbers earned the penalty kick when midfielder Jack Barmby was brought down after combining with Adi inside the area.
The finish, Valeri’s 14th goal in 2016, signified an MLS career-high for the midfielder, and the eighth-most in MLS this season, as the Timbers become just the 10th team in league history to have multiple players score 14 or more goals in the same season with forward Fanendo Adi scoring 16 times in league play. On the defensive end, goalkeeper Jake Gleeson recorded three saves in the match against Whitecaps FC, extending his season tally to 112 saves in 28 games played, a save total that ranked as the third-most saves in MLS this season.
With the result, the Timbers conclude their 2016 season with a 12-14-8 record (44pts).
With both teams taking an aggressive approach to start the match, Vancouver (10-15-9, 39pts) managed to open the scoring in the 13th minute of play when defender Fraser Aird’s cross found its way to midfielder Giles Barnes, who quickly struck a powerful shot into the top right corner from just inside the 18-yard box. Four minutes later, the Timbers responded in the attacking third when Valeri’s through ball released midfielder Lucas Melano away from goal, with the midfielder firing a shot that forced a strong save from Ousted, producing a corner for Portland.
In the 19th minute, Portland created its strongest chance of the half when midfielder Darren Mattocks powered his way into the box, playing a quick cross to the near post to Adi. Using his body to hold up the ball inside the six-yard box, Adi turned and fired a strike that rattled off the post, with the ball rebounding to Melano, who had his follow-up attempt saved by Ousted from four yards away.
With less than 15 minutes remaining in the first half, Whitecaps FC doubled their lead when Barnes won the ball just outside the area, driving into the box before curling a shot into the bottom right corner to record his second goal of the game.
Approaching halftime, the Timbers created another chance on goal in the 37th minute when Valeri’s floated cross into the box landed to midfielder Jack Jewsbury, who had his first-time effort blocked by the Whitecaps FC defense, while Barmby’s chance in the 50th minute forced a strong save by Ousted. One minute later, Valeri and Barmby combined on a short corner, with Valeri driving into the box from the endline before playing a dangerous pass across the face of the goal, forcing a difficult clearance from the Whitecaps FC defense.
Three minutes later, Whitecaps FC tallied a pair of goals in a two-minute stretch to extend its lead, with midfielder Pedro Morales scoring a powerful strike in the 54th minute, before Nicolas Mezquida managed to convert on the counter attack in the 55th minute.
Sunday’s match marked the final MLS contest for Jewsbury and Ned Grabavoy, who both recently announced their decision to retire following the 2016 campaign. Jewsbury and Grabavoy rank as just two of 39 players in league history to play 300 or more MLS games, with Jewsbury ranked ninth (352) and Grabavoy ranked 39th (301).
- Diego Valeri scored his 14th goal of the season for the Timbers, which is a career high for the midfielder. Valeri concludes the season tied for the eighth-most goals scored in MLS this season.
- With the finish, Portland is the 10th team in MLS history to have multiple players score 14 or more goals in the same season with forward Fanendo Adi (16) and Valeri (14) accomplishing the feat.
- With four chances created in the match, Valeri finished 2016 with 89 chances created, the second-highest total in MLS behind only New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan.
- Jake Gleeson finished the season with 112 saves, which is tied for third-most in 2016.
- Jack Jewsbury played in his 157th regular-season match for Portland, ranking as the fourth-most matches played in Timbers history across all eras of the club (since 1975). Jewsbury, who is retiring, finishes his MLS career with 352 regular-season games played, which is ninth-most in MLS history.
- Gbenga Arokoyo made his debut for the Timbers, entering the game as a second-half substitute.