Montreal Impact 1, Portland Timbers 2 | MLS Match Recap

MONTREAL – Oh, Diego Valeri. How you were missed.

Valeri opened his 2015 account with a beautiful goal that made the difference on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo, as the visiting Portland Timbers picked up a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact. Nat Borchers scored Portland’s first, while substitute Dominic Oduro got Montreal’s goal.

On his first start since recovering from knee surgery, Valeri played 72 minutes and provided an offensive spark that Portland had badly needed this season. His winning goal, in the 70th minute, was vintage Valeri: Rodney Wallace, in a duel with Nigel Reo-Coker, got down to hook the ball in Valeri’s direction, just inside the box near the top left corner. Valeri, looking nothing like a man coming off a long absence after tearing his ACL last October, curled a wonderful first-time shot at the far post past goalkeeper Evan Bush.

Borchers got the opener for the Timbers only six minutes earlier. After a corner kick was cleared, fellow center back Liam Ridgewell nodded a cross to Timbers striker Fanendo Adi, whose header was stopped by Bush. But the rebound fell to Borchers, who headed the ball into the back of the net.

A crazy seven-minute spell also saw Oduro score. After some fancy footwork down the left by Ignacio Piatti, the ball reached Eric Alexander who smacked a shot that was stopped by Adam Kwarasey. Oduro, who’d checked in only two minutes earlier, blasted the rebound home.

Jack McInerney appeared to draw Montreal level in the 78th minute – referee Mark Geiger signalled for a goal at first – but his effort was called back. The assistant noted a foul by McInerney on Jack Jewsbury before the goal.

Montreal continued to commit numbers forward and could well have conceded on the counter, but the 2-1 scoreline prevailed.

The Impact, still seeking their first league victory, return to the Amway Canadian Championship next Wednesday, May 13, when they take a 1-0 aggregate-goal advantage to Toronto FC’s BMO Field for the second leg of their semifinal series. The Timbers will be back in action next Saturday, May 16, at Houston. Montreal host Real Salt Lake in league play on the same day.

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