July 21st, 2024

Rodriguez and Mora score to give Timbers a 2-0 win over Whitecaps in Cascadia Cup matchup

By Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press on June 22, 2024.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Jonathan Rodriguez and Felipe Mora scored first-half goals and the Portland Timbers extended their unbeaten streak to six games with a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps in a Cascadia Cup rivalry match on Saturday night.

Rodriguez scored his eighth goal of the season in the 26th minute to put the Timbers in front.

Mora doubled the lead in the 43rd minute with his team-leading ninth goal of the year. He maneuvered between a pair of defenders and blasted the ball past Whitecaps goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka.

“I think it was hard at the beginning (of the season), we conceded a lot of goals, more than we wanted. We just started working hard to score more goals and keep clean sheets,” Rodriguez said. “So we’re working on that and trying to reflect that on the field.”

The Timbers (7-7-6) are the only MLS team with three players with eight or more goals this season. Evander also has eight.

Evander had a dangerous free kick in stoppage time from just outside the top of the box but it sailed over the goal.

The Cascadia Cup is the annual competition between the Timbers, Whitecaps and the Seattle Sounders created by supporters of the three Pacific Northwest teams. The winner of the trophy is determined on points.

It was Portland’s first clean sheet of the season.

Portland coach Phil Neville said the team’s mentality has changed after a rocky start to the season. Portland moved up to sixth in the Western Conference with the win.

“You remember those 10 games without a win, and we kept going, we kept plodding away, we kept believing in what we were doing,” Neville said. “And I knew it would change because of the ability we had in the squad. We just had to develop a more ruthless mentality.”

It was Whitecaps coach Vanni Sartini’s 100th MLS regular-season match with the team.

Vancouver (7-7-4) was missing two players because of the Copa America. Ali Ahmed is playing for Canada and Andrés Cubas is with Paraguay.

Portland’s Maxime Crépeau and Kamal Miller are also playing for Canada in the Copa America, while Miguel Araujo is on Peru’s roster.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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