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Portland Timbers 1-1 Chicago Fire: Rose City where they tie

Mar 16, 2014, 5:03 PM EDT

Willamette Week Willamette Week

For the second time this season and 17th time in their last 36 regular season matches, the Portland Timbers have kissed their sister (so to speak. What a weird phrase).

Not that Timbers fans will be complaining all that much after Gaston Fernandez rescued them from just one point in two home matches to the start the season with a tap-in goal 12 minutes from time.

Patrick Nyarko picked up a second yellow in the 86th minute, which tore open the door for a feisty Portland crowd that could smell a match-winning goal from its pouring-forward Timbers. Despite the clock running near to 98 minutes, the match finished 1-1.

Chicago improves to 0W-1D-1L, while Portland moves to 0W-2D-0L.

Chicago made it interesting early, as Quincy Amarikwa won a penalty kick from Norberto Paparatto after plenty of physicality in the box. Jeff Larentowicz stepped up and got Donovan Ricketts going the wrong way and it was 1-0 Fire in the 20th minute.

Amarikwa made a big impression for the second straight week and has to be giving Fire supporters some hope that the fourth MLS stop is the charm for the 26-year-old.

On the way to halftime, there was plenty of Johnson frustrating Johnson, as Chicago keeper Sean played a perfect foil to newly-extended Portland captain Will. The Fire walked to the break up 1-0.

On the defensive end, Lovel Palmer had himself a match. The highlight was a 53rd minute sliding tackle of a dangerous Darlington Nagbe.

Portland almost pounced on weird bounce in the 56th minute but Max Urruti was a split-second late in his outstretched attempt to tap Diego Valeri’s cross into an empty net.

A midair collision between Ricketts and Amarikwa left the Portland keeper worse for wear, but after some time on the turf he decided to remain in the match.

There was a bit of fury in the Chicago box during the 67th minute that involved an attempted Portland bicycle kick, shouts for a Fire handball, a brilliant Sean Johnson save and some sterling blocks from Chicago defenders.

Portland found the equalizer in the 79th minute, when Gaston Fernandez was in the catbird seat to tap home Sean Johnson’s block of a Nagbe blast. Just like that, the Timbers were back in Tie Town.

Ricketts made a crazy save in stoppage time as 10-man Chicago countered with vigor, as a long free kick was met back post by the Jamaican’s save of a Bakary Soumare header.

Fernandez hit the deck inside the 18 in the eighth minute of stoppage time, but no call came.

Notable for the match: the Fire’s Harry Shipp became the first Homegrown player in club history to earn first team action in an MLS match.

  1. lunasceiling - Mar 17, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    Soft penalty on Paparrato (the contact on Johnson’s bicycle kick was actually a fair bit more severe in terms of effecting play, and no call). Contact, for sure, but it was largely caused by Amarikwa, who basically slammed on the brakes as he realized the ball was getting by him, let Paparatto run into the back, then dove to the pitch like a poleaxed heifer. Obvious on replay, but can’t fault the ref for calling it in play. It looked worse in realtime.

    The Timbers once again controlled the ball a lot, created a good many chances…but had a very hard time getting any sort of good finish. Will Johnson uncharacteristically missed a tap-in laugher. They seemed more dangerous when Zakuani subbed on for Urruti (playing wide while Gaston Fernandez moved to the point). I’m not one to give up on Maxi Urruti, but he was effective really only with his high defensive pressure. With Zakuani looking about ready to go 90, I’d not be surprised to see Caleb Porter change to that as the starting eleven and bring Urruti in off the bench at 70 minutes.

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