Portland Timbers Win the MLS is Back Tournament, Defeat Orlando City, 2-1

Portland Timbers are the MLS is Back champions after beating the Orlando City in the finals. Giovani Savarese’s boys won 2-1, snatching their second trophy ever, and earning themselves a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League next year.

It was a tough game in which Timbers showed experience and knowledge of handling these situations. Unlike Orlando, they have more players who played in big matches, and eventually that would provide a result.

Larrys Mabiala scored an opener in the 27th minute, after Diego Valeri’s free-kick. Once again, Timbers’ playmaker set up a goal, proving that he and Sebastian Blanco are the heart and soul of this crew.

The Lions began pressuring the Timbers, and just 12 minutes later, they leveled the result through Mauricio Pereyra. Orlando’s No.10 used Nani’s cross to beat Steve Clark.

Timbers have scored a game-winner in the 66th minute. Valeri took a corner-kick, the ball reached Eryk Williams, whose shot towards a goal was redirected by Dario Zuparic. This would turn out to be the last goal of the game, and the one that brought Portland the second trophy in their collection.

Even though Orlando had a bigger share of the ball possession, they weren’t direct as rivals. Timbers had the ball in 36% of the time, yet they had 13 goal attempts, from which 6 headed on goal. Meanwhile, Orlando had 14, and just one on the target, which was Pereyra’s goal.

Pedro Gallese, Lions’ goalkeeper, had four saves, and we might say that if weren’t for him, and his confident reactions, not just in this game, but during the entire tournament, Orlando wouldn’t be here.

The team which was second to the last in the Eastern Conference last season, would rise and show to have solid potential. According to many, the arrival of Oscar Pareja, the 53-year old Colombian manager, changed everything, and his presence was the main reason why Lions began performing well.

As for Timbers, they just confirmed the status of one of the powerhouses in the MLS, indicating that they are among top candidates for winning the more trophies in the near future.

The regular part of the MLS season continues in less than two weeks. Portland hosts Seattle Sounders on August 23 at home. Meanwhile, Orlando travels to Miami to face Inter one day earlier.