Olimpia 3, Portland Timbers 1 | CONCACAF Champions League Match Recap
The Portland Timbers went from sitting pretty atop Group 5 to crashing out of the CONCACAF Champions League thanks in part to conceding two goals in the first four minutes of their 3-1 loss Tuesday night to Honduran side Olimpia in Tegucigalpa.
A second-minute goal by Romell Quioto was followed up just two minutes later with an Anthony Lozano strike to suddenly force the Timbers, who came into the match undefeated in their first three CCL games and with a two-goal advantage over Olimpia, to chase the game in front of a raucous crowd at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino.
A 52nd-minute Ben Zemanski strike briefly gave the Timbers life, but Olimpia answered back two minutes later with another Lozano goal.
Olimpia and Portland finish group play tied on nine points and head-to-head goal differential, but the Honduran champions advance thanks to having more away goals in the head-to-head series, having scored twice in the Timbers' 4-2 win at Providence Park.
It was a nightmare start for the Timbers.
Two minutes in, a long ball into the Timbers area found its way to Quioto, who with his back to the goal and while holding off two defenders flipped a high-arching shot over goalkeeper Jake Gleeson that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced into the goal.
It went from bad to worse when, two minutes later, Omar Guerra got free on a break and found Lozano for an easy tap-in.
The Timbers’ chances were few and far between in the first half. In the 18th minute, Gaston Fernandez had a good look off a Rodney Wallace feed but had his shot saved by Olimpia goalkeeper Donis Escober. On a set piece in the 45th minute, Maximiliano Urruti got on the end of a Fernandez free kick but shipped his header high.
But in the second half, the Timbers came to life – briefly, at least. Zemanski’s 52nd-minute goal came on a right-footed blast from distance that took a deflection off an Olimpia defender and past Escober.
But Olimpia did not wilt, and just two minutes later they answered right back with Lozano’s second goal on a slicing run to slide onto the end of a long Quioto cross for a left-footed finish past Gleeson.
Diego Valeri’s attempt to answer with a second Timbers goal, one that would have put them through to the quarterfinals, on a 59th-minute free kick was saved once again by Escober. An apparent goal by second-half substitute Darlington Nagbe in the 72nd minute was called offside.
Three minutes later, Escober saved a Fernandez header. Fernandez had another chance with a header in the 92nd minute, but it was off target.
The Timbers now face the reality of their bleak MLS postseason fate: Portland must win Saturday at FC Dallas and hope for a Vancouver Whitecaps loss or tie against the Colorado Rapids to advance to the MLS Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive season.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.