MLS Cup Final: Columbus 1 – 2 Portland

MLS Final Image: Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports

Cup Final

Columbus Crew SC 1 – 2 Portland Timbers – MLS Cup Match Recap

It wasn’t the classic MLS Cup, and it wasn’t short of controversy.  But one thing is for sure: it was one of the most amazing spectacles in the history of American Soccer, and a dramatic match that will go down in the memory of millions of Major League Soccer followers worldwide.

Portland Timbers, a 2011 MLS expansion team that had never been to Major league Soccer playoffs, won the MLS Cup for the first time in its history, in a breath-taking journey all throughout the MLS playoffs, and finishing on a high note in the Major League Soccer Cup Final.

Portland was below the red line in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference in mid-season (October), and started clawing its way to the top – finishing on Top of the MLS for this year.

The Timbers had the most amazing run in the MLS Playoffs, surviving an 11-round penalty shootout against Sporting Kansas City in the knockout stages, followed by a goalless draw and then 2-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and then eliminating top MLS West seed FC Dallas.

Portland Timbers game Columbus Crew SC a taste of its own medicine when comes to scoring goals early in the match.  After Crew’s Jason Meram scored the earliest goal in MLS Playoff history against New York Red Bulls, Portland stunned Columbus with a goal in the first 9 seconds.

Timbers’ Diego Valeri took advantages of an early mistake made by Crew’s goalkeeper Steve Clark, not closing in properly on an early back pass in front of Valeri.  When Clark did try to clear it was too late already, and Valeri slid down and sent the ball into a clear net from under Clark’s feet.

Columbus Crew SC 0 – 1 Portland Timbers

It was only 27 seconds after kickoff when Portland took the lead, but things quickly turned from bad to worse for Columbus, who seemed to be dragging along and not finding their form, let alone respond with a counter attack to close the gap.

Six minutes after the first goal, as hosts Columbus were still busy disputing what they thought to be a ball out of bounds, Portland’s Darlington Nagbe made a run for the ball, sent it wide across to Lucas Melano who set Rodney Wallace for a header that went past Steve Clark in the center of the box, doubling the Timbers lead (7’).

Columbus Crew SC 0 – 2 Portland Timbers

Kei Kamara put Columbus on the scoreboard after skilfully and diligently wresting several defending bodies on Portland’s goal line, and threading the ball in past Portland’s defense and goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey (17’).

Columbus Crew SC 1 – 2 Portland Timbers

The game became more even with both teams creating opportunities, especially towards the second half.  However it was not enough for the Crew the save their title.

And thus, Columbus Crew SC became the second MLS team to lose the Playoff Cup at home, and the Portland Timbers to become the third Major League Soccer Expansion Team to win the MLS Cup.