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Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Portland Timers FC on Friday, May 10, 2019 at B.C Place. Photo: Har Journalist.

VANCOUVER, B.C – Vancouver Whitecaps FC have jumped ahead of the pack into a western conference playoff spot after a 1-0 win over Cascadia rival, Portland Timbers FC. Fredy Montero’s third goal of the season was enough to earn all three points in front of a crowd of 18,356 at B.C. Place.

After struggling to find his form, and consistent minutes earlier this season. the 31-year-old, Montero, has now scored in back to back matches. Montero is now locked in and scoring. While some strikers might try and shake up their routine, Montero hasn’t done that.

“No, the same,” Montero explained to Har Journalist, post-match. “I try to work hard, I know my value. I know what I can do to help the team, and I always try to believe in every single training session. I’m honest to myself, and I have a lot of experience. I always try to be focused because there are so many good players on this team. We need to be ready, because we need all the players ready to go, to win games.”

Vancouver is now 2-0-1 in their last three matches at B.C. Place.

Whitecaps FC improve to 3-5-3, (12-points) on the season, and Portland slips to 3-5-2, (11-points). Vancouver now sits momentarily in the 7th western conference playoff spot.

“The first 20 minutes of the team were fantastic in every sense,” Coach Marc Dos Santos told reporters post-match. “Possession, creating, scoring, mobility in the attack. Then Portland had a little bit more possession. Blanco and Valeri were able to find some pockets between lines and that created a little bit of instability. The game became very broken when we tried to exploit some things in transition. They won the ball, then we lost the second ball, it became broken. The last 10 minutes of the first half, we were able to settle again. In the second half, we knew they would come hard. This was the team that was in the MLS Cup final. They’re a good team and it’s normal when you play good teams that they come at you. We were able to be solid, we were able to show commitment between everybody, and in transition, we had plays that were exciting and could’ve finished with a goal. Overall, I think with what we did in the 90 minutes, we deserve the three points against a very good team coming from three wins in a row so the guys did a very good job.”

Whitecaps FC’s leading scoring was in a philosophical mood post-match.

“It’s always good when we win,” Montero explained. “But it doesn’t mean we are the best team, so that’s why, when sometimes the results are not the best, we also think we aren’t the worst team in the league. We need to keep moving forward, and believing in the process.” 

It didn’t take long for Vancouver to open the scoring. Montero showed his brilliance to control the ball, and volley a striker top corner on Timbers keeper, Steve Clark. Russell Teibert setup Montero, and Vancouver was ahead early in the 9′ minute.

“The goal,” Montero recalled. “I just remember when, Inbeom tried to play the ball to me. One of the Portland defenders touched the ball, and then Rusty (Russell Teibert) with a beautiful assist. I give all the credit to him. With one touch, he gave me the ball, and put me one on one with the goalkeeper. My first touch was from my right, to my left. I shot really hard on the first post. Thank god that was a good goal. I was expecting the ball to go that hard on the goalkeeper, especially with my left foot.”

Whitecaps FC had all sorts of early pressure on the visitors, and could have easily been ahead by a bigger margin. Ali Adnan had a ball sent into the box, that was dangerously headed on to the Timbers crossbar by Bill Tuiloma. Moments later, Adnan was unmarked at the side of the Timbers goal, only to send his effort high above the target.

For the third consecutive Whitecaps FC home match. The supporters groups, Southsiders, and Curva Collective, along with many other fans, walked out of the match, in protest, at the 35′ minute. The visiting Portland Timbers Army also joined the walk out in solidarity.

Portland came out strong to start the second half, and looked to find an equalizer with consistent pressure. Despite dominating the half with 27 shots attempted, and five on target. Vancouver’s defensive structure did not break. Doneil Henry was a force!!

“I thought that we had very good moments,” Portland Coach, Giovanni Savarese explained. “Unfortunately, there were a few times in the first half that they were able to find the space and they capitalized in one opportunity. They defended well, I thought that the guys just worked very hard. I mean, everyone put everything that they could. We had chances, we attacked, we possessed the ball. I thought that we dominated the match, but credit to them, they defended very well and the goalkeeper made some spectacular saves.”

Whitecaps FC’s Max Crepeau, stood on his head, and made several terrific saves to keep Vancouver ahead. Crepeau finished with five saves to earn his third clean sheet of the season. The 25 year-old, Crepeau, gave all the props to his back-line.

“There’s the back-four, man,” Crepeau said of his defence. “They’re really solid. We saw it tonight, we saw it last weekend. It’s always like that, the work ethic of the boys and the mentality. Balls in my area, the other guy is not getting it. The mentality of the boys is fantastic. We need to keep going on this one, because it’s a big part of our game, the defensive aspect.”

It will be a quick turn around for Vancouver as they host former Whitecap, Brek Shea, and Atlanta United FC, on Wednesday, May 15 at B.C. Place.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Starting XI: Max Crepeau, Ali Adnan, Doneil Henry, Erik Godoy, Jake Nerwinski; Russell Teibert, Jon Erice(C), InBeom Hwang, 65 (Andy Rose); Lass Bangoura, 75 (Brett Levis), Fredy Montero, 87 (Joaquin Ardaiz), Lucas Venuto. 4-3-3

Portland Timbers FC Starting XI: Steve Clark; Zarek Valentin, 83 (Julio Cascante), Bill Tuiloma, Larrys Mabiala, Jorge Moreira, 83 (Lucas Melano); Sebastian Blanco, Diego Chara, Cristhian Paredes, Andres Flores, 73 (Andy Polo); Jeremy Eboisse, Diego Valeri(C). 4-4-2

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