Vancouver headed in to Portland still looking for their first win down there in the MLS era. With a depleted side through suspensions and injuries, it was always going to be a tough ask. In the end they came away with a point and in the circumstances, they will be very happy to have done so.
A Jordan Harvey header in the 69th minute cancelled out an early second half goal by Portlandís Ryan Johnson in a Cascadia Cup clash that showed some early intensity but didnít deliver the excitement of previous local derbies.
The general feeling going in to the game was that Martin Rennie would go conservative and defensive but he surprised many by going with a bold starting eleven that saw Kekuta Manneh get the start up front, along with Daigo Kobayashi.
As expected, Brad Rusin slotted in to the defensive midfield role, with Carlyle Mitchell coming back in as the starting centreback and David Ousted was handed his MLS debut in goal.
It was a feisty start to the game with both teams putting themselves about and some early bookings handed out. Brad Rusin in particular was in the wars and his night came to an abrupt end when he was stretchered off in the 17th minute following his second tussle of the night with Diego Valeri.
Unfortunately that was about the most exciting it got in a first half devoid of chances.
The closest either team got was when Frederic Piquionne headed a Camilo free kick past his own post early on.
Vancouver went in the more contented with the parity, despite losing Rusin and the three yellow cards they picked up. They had been fairly untroubled throughout but you got the sense that Portland would turn up the heat in the second half.
And they did.
It took the home side just four minutes to find their groove and take the lead and it stemmed from a cheap Vancouver giveaway on the edge of the Portland box.
The Timbers powered forward and Valeri delivered a pinpoint cross into the box for Ryan Johnson to bullet home. The substitute easily rose above Young-Pyo Lee, with the Caps central defence pairing nowhere to be seen.
Portland didnít press home their advantage and a Darlington Nagbe curler which went wide on the hour mark was the closest they came to adding a second.
The Whitecaps hadnít threatened the whole half but they made the Timbers pay for not killing the game off in the 69th minute.
Camilo swung in a corner from the left and Jordan Harvey rose above everyone to turn his head and head the ball over Donovan Ricketts and high into the Portland net.
The goal invigorated Vancouver and both sides started to make a game of it.
Portland thought they had retaken the lead in the 78th minute when Pa-Modou Kah put away a Ryan Johnson cross at the back post but the linesman quickly had his flag up for offside.
Camilo nearly got on the end of a nice move in the 83rd minute, but this was the closest that the visitors came in the closing minutes to grabbing the win.
Portland saw the game out with a spell of pressure but they couldnít find the breakthrough they needed and when the final whistle sounded, it was a delighted band of travelling Whitecaps supporters in the corner that were the happiest with how the night played out.
For a heavily depleted squad, in a very hostile environment, and on the back of two defeats, this is arguably Vancouverís most important Cascadia Cup point in the MLS era so far.
FINAL SCORE: Portland Timbers 1 - 1 Vancouver Whitecaps
ATT: 20,674 (44th consecutive sell-out)
PORTLAND: Donovan Ricketts; Michael Harrington, Pa-Modou Kah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Alvas Powell (Ryan Miller 62); Will Johnson, Jack Jewsbury (Jose Valencia 84), Diego Valeri; Darlington Nagbe, Frederic Piquionne (Ryan Johnson 40), Rodney Wallace [Subs Not Used: Milos Kocic, Kalif Alhassan, Jose Valencia, Ben Zemanski, Rauwshan McKenzie]
VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Young-Pyo Lee, Carlyle Mitchell, Johnny Leveron, Jordan Harvey; Brad Rusin (Matt Watson 17), Nigel Reo-Coker, Daigo Kobayashi; Russell Teibert, Kekuta Manneh (Erik Hurtado 65), Camilo Sanvezzo [Subs Not Used: Brad Knighton, Greg Klazura, Aminu Abdallah, Corey Hertzog, Tommy Heinemann]
Martin Rennie on the overall game:
"A little disappointed again with the goal that we lost but I felt we were very comfortable in this game."
Martin Rennie on Jordan Harveyís contribution to the team:
"I think heís an undervalued player sometimes. Heís been doing very well defensively but heís also been chipping in with goals."
Martin Rennie on rest of season:
"Weíre just a few points off first place in the League. Weíre playing well. Weíve got games in hand against some of the teams above us. Our confidence is high."
Martin Rennie on importance of experience in making playoffs last year in this yearís quest:
"Itís really valuable. Some teams that started off really well are starting to fade right now and will start to feel that pressure because it is difficult. We did learn a lot last year and I think that will play in to us this season and that will help us a lot."
Jordan Harvey on game overall:
"I thought we come out strong that first half. I thought we controlled the game that first half for sure and in the second half they kind of picked it up and we worked our way in to it. Overall I thought we deserved a point."
Jordan Harvey on his goal:
"Wallace was kind of over me all game during set pieces so I just tried to stay back so he couldnít get a hold of me and then darted in near post and Camilo sent in a perfect ball and just tried to get my head on it."
Jordan Harvey on his last headed goal:
"Jeez, the last time I scored a header had to be in college maybe. This is the first year Iíve been able to get up for corners and free kicks. Iím usually back at the halfway line twiddling my thumbs!"
Jordan Harvey on what team needs to do in big Western Conference games coming up:
"Just stay on form. I think everybody is working hard and you saw that today. Everybodyís battling for every ball. Iíd love to see the duals won and everything like that because everyone was giving 100%. I think we just need to keep that and everything will be fine."
David Ousted on overall game:
"That was fun. A great place to play. An ok result for us getting one back from being down."
David Ousted on making his MLS debut:
"I got excited. I love playing and I love getting my start here, so I was happy with it and just tried to focus on the things I had to do in this game. I did that all day yesterday, all day today and it went good."
David Ousted on Timber Joeyís chainsaw:
"I got a little bit of a shock in the first half when someone started a chainsaw. Iím not used to that back in Denmark!"
David Ousted on the rest of the season:
"I hope we can clinch the playoffs. We need to get up there, its really, really tight right now and there's some good teams. At home at BC Place we need to be strong and get our points there and I think weíre gonna clinch the playoffs."
Matt Watson on another comeback performance:
"We always dig deep when we go behind. You donít want to go behind but I think weíve shown that whenever do go behind weíre not afraid to come back. We donít sit down and stop playing, we go to the very end."
Matt Watson on unexpectedly having to come in to an intense game:
"Thatís happened to me a couple of times last season and you donít have time to overthink things, you just play. You just go out there and play your game. You donít have all that preparation for things like corners, which is very important, but I think not worrying too much about the game because youíre on the bench definitely helped me tonight and I was right in the thick of the action and just playing, so it was good."
Matt Watson on the travelling support:
"Itís amazing. Just to see those many fans at an away ground, singing the whole game. You can hear them. Itís amazing. Theyíre important to us and Iím glad we got the point for them tonight."