But they never found a second goal. And Lee Nguyen did.
Nguyen’s late equalizer canceled out a beautiful Diego Valeri opener in the first half as the Revs and Timbers played to a 1-1 draw in Providence Park.
Both goals were highlighted by defensive mistakes which were opportunistically converted into goals by both teams on the night.
First, Chris Tierney attempted to clear a cross from the Revs penalty area, but it only went as far as Valeri at the top of box. The Timbers star didn’t even hesitate and unleashed a wicked volley on frame and past Cody Cropper in net.
In between the goals, it was mostly the Timbers on the front foot. The talented Portland attack always seemed so close to a second goal but it never came despite a handful of good chances. David Guzman blazed a shot from distance over the bar while Fanendo Adi and Sebastian Blanco combined for nine total shots but only one on target. New England’s best chance in game came early as Kelyn Rowe’s long distance effort was parried wide by Gleeson in the opening minutes.
A pair of penalty shouts midway through the second half for either side saw no action from referee Kevin Stott. Kei Kamara was looking for a penalty when he was impeded in the box and moments later Josh Smith tangled with Adi in the Revs area but no whistle was heard.
While New England never looked all that threatening on the night, they hung on thanks to a solid defensive effort by Smith and Antonio Delamea at centerback. What the Revs needed was a chance and Timbers keeper Jake Gleeson gave it to them in the 85th minute.
A cross from the wing from Kei Kamara was tipped on frame by Teal Bunbury at the near post, however Gleeson parried the ball directly in front of him and couldn’t collect the ball in time before Nguyen smashed the ball into net to tie the game.
It was a disappointed end for a well played match from the Timbers, who lament not finding a second goal. Despite a statistical edge in total passes, possession, crosses and corners, Portland managed just two shots on target out of sixteen while New England was four of thirteen shooting on the night.
The draw moves the Revs up to four points in the MLS season with a 1W-2L-1D record. Portland moves atop the West standings with ten points through five games, one point ahead of FC Dallas who has a game in hand.
New England’s next match will be at home on Saturday, April 8th against the Houston Dynamo.