Timbers and Whitecaps play to 1-1 draw
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) All those draws are starting to weigh on the Portland Timbers.
The Timbers have a league-leading 11 ties this season, their latest a 1-1 draw with the Cascadia Cup rival Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
Jordan Harvey scored the equalizer for the Whitecaps in the 68th minute after Ryan Johnson put the Timbers in front with a header into the net in the 48th.
The result pulled the Whitecaps ahead in the three-way Pacific Northwest rivalry series with Portland and the Seattle Sounders.
The Timbers, coming off a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, remained tied for second place in the league's Western Conference at 8-3-11.
The Whitecaps (9-7-6) are in a tie for fourth in the conference, coming off a 1-0 loss to Philadelphia last Saturday.
In the push for the playoffs, the Timbers need wins, not draws, captain Will Johnson said.
"It's unacceptable, really. You have to try to win games, you have to make plays. I think a lot of those draws are from a lack of making plays," Will Johnson said.
"Collectively we need guys to step up and make plays, especially when we're tied late in the game. We have to push for the win."
The Cascadia Cup at least the trophy itself was introduced in 2004 when all three teams were part of the United Soccer Leagues First Division.
Fans pooled their money to buy a 2-foot tall silver cup, which goes to the team that finishes with the best record in head-to-head matches between the three, based on a points system.
But the actual rivalry between the three teams dates back to 1975, when all of them were part of the North American Soccer League.
Portland took the Cascadia Cup last season with a 1-0 victory over the Whitecaps in the team's second-to-last match. Jack Jewsbury scored in the 39th minute, giving the Timbers their first victory on the road and ending a six-match losing streak.
It was one of the few bright spots of last season. The Timbers finished the season 8-16-10, ranked second-to-last in Major League Soccer's Western Conference and falling far short of the team's goal to reach the playoffs.
Under new coach Caleb Porter, this season the Timbers put together a midseason 15-match unbeaten streak to climb in the standings. But the Timbers had lost two of their past four going into Saturday's match against Vancouver.
"We're obviously disappointed with the draw," Porter said. "And the fact that we're disappointed shows how far we've come as a club."
The Whitecaps were hurt in the 17th minute when defender Brad Rusin injured his right leg after a hard foul on Portland's Diego Valeri. Rusin was taken from the field on a stretcher and replaced by Matt Watson.
Vancouver was already without midfielder Jun Marques Davidson after he was red-carded for head-butting Philadelphia's Keon Daniel last weekend. Midfielder Gershon Koffie also missed the match because he had accumulated five yellow cards.
"We were very depleted, but the players didn't use that as an excuse," Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie said.
Ryan Johnson's goal came off a perfectly placed cross from Diego Valeri, beating Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted.
The Whitecaps evened it in the 68th minute when Harvey's shot sailed up and over Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts' fingertips and into the net.
Ousted, acquired in June from the Danish side Randers FC, was making his debut in goal for Vancouver.
The Timbers threatened in the 78th minute, but Pa-Modou Kah was ruled offside on a close-in kick into the net.
The Timbers lead the MLS series with the Whitecaps 4-0-3. The two teams played to a 2-2 draw earlier this season and will meet again on Oct. 6 in Vancouver.