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Portland Timbers 0, Vancouver Whitecaps 0 | MLS Match Recap

PORTLAND, Ore. – It was not lacking in drama or action, as one would expect from a Cascadia Cup rivalry match, but the goals were nowhere to be found Saturday night at Providence Park as the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a scoreless draw.

A missed penalty kick in the first half by Darlington Nagbe was not the kind of drama Portland wanted to see, but the home crowd was later sent into a frenzy upon the return of Argentine playmaker Diego Valeri, who came on as a second-half substitute after missing the first two months of the season while recovering from an ACL injury suffered in the 2014 season finale.

However anticlimactic, the point in their ninth game of the season moves Portland into a group of five Western Conference teams sitting on 10 points.

The Whitecaps, meanwhile, were unable to duplicate their dramatic victory from the last time the two teams met, when Robert Earnshaw plucked a stoppage-time winner just seconds after coming on as a late sub in a 2-1 Vancouver win in late March. The Whitecaps will likely find solace in the road point a week after losing at home to D.C. United, keeping them tied with FC Dallas atop the Western Conference table with 17 points from 10 games.

Neither team found much of a rhythm in the first half, and the Timbers squandered two golden chances to score at the half-hour mark.

First, Vancouver center back Pa Modou Kah was called for a handball in the box in the 29th minute. But Nagbe clanged the ensuing spot kick off the right post on a tentative right-footed attempt.

Then, three minutes later, an unmarked Maximiliano Urruti met a pinpoint cross from Rodney Wallace in front of goal, but the header attempt was angled well over the bar.

Vancouver’s best chance of the first half came in the very first minute when left back Jordan Harvey made a sneaky run into the box to receive a Mauro Rosales cross for an open shot, but it was dealt with easily by Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.

Valeri’s biggest imprint from his near 40-minute shift came in the 78th minute when he ran onto a Jorge Villafana cross in the box but pushed his sliding shot just wide.

Vancouver, meanwhile, were limited to just seven shots, two on goal. Late attempts by Octavio Rivero, Kekuta Manneh and Gershon Koffie all went begging for more.

Vancouver shift gears into the Amway Canadian Championship, where they will face FC Edmonton in a semifinal match on Wednesday (9:30 pm ET) before returning to league play Saturday at home against the Philadelphia Union (7 pm ET on TSN2 and MLS LIVE). Portland hit the road for their next match, a Saturday meeting with CONCACAF Champions League runners-up Montreal Impact (4 pm ET on TSN, RDS2 and MLS LIVE).

Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.

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