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Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Portland Timbers 1 | MLS Match Recap

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Robert Earnshaw made his brief debut for the Vancouver Whitecaps a memorable one, snatching a stoppage-time, game-winning goal Saturday evening in a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers at BC Place.

The counter-attack strike likely left the Timbers wondering how they came away from the match empty handed, having dominated possession and received an 82-minute equalizer from Fanendo Adi to cancel out an early goal from ‘Caps midfielder Nicolas Mezquida.

The match proved to be a much tamer affair than recent meetings between the Cascadia rivals, especially their preseason clash just less than a month ago that resulted in 43 combined fouls and two Timbers ejections. And it gave Vancouver (3-1-0; 9 points) their third-straight win, while Portland (0-1-3; 3 points) are still left searching for their first victory of the season.

Portland had the best of the early chances, and Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted did well to get across his goal and turn a low 20 yarder from George Fochive around the post four minutes in.

But the Whitecaps slowly started to look more threatening and took the lead in the 15th minute.

Octavio Rivero was brought down on the edge of the box. His fellow Uruguayan, Mezquida, stepped up to take the free kick, taking time to have a look around the wall first before placing a perfect curler past Timbers ‘keeper Adam Kwarasey and into the bottom left corner.

The Timbers dominated play for the rest of the half and the start of the second, but for all their possession the clinical final ball was either missing or had nobody to get on the end of it.

Meanwhile, Vancouver looked happy to sit back and soak up the pressure. And Ousted was forced to come up with a dramatic sprawling save to keep out a thunderous shot from Darlington Nagbe with 20 minutes of the match remaining.

The visitors finally got the reward their play deserved in the 82nd minute when Ousted got a hand on Rodney Wallace's low ball across goal but only managed to deflect it into the path of Adi, who made no mistake in hitting home from a few yards out to tie things up.

The Whitecaps raised their tempo in the closing moments, but it was the Timbers who had two great chances in the 89th minute, with Ousted coming up huge on a reflex save off another Adi shot to maintain the 1-1 scoreline.

The save proved crucial as Vancouver broke quickly. Morales slipped in Earnshaw, the veteran striker signed earlier this week who came on in the 87th minute, and he delicately chipped the ball over Kwarasey for the dramatic winner.

Both teams now face tough home games next Saturday against Western Conference rivals, with Vancouver hosting the LA Galaxy and Portland playing host to table-topping FC Dallas.

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