Portland Timbers end NYCFC's unbeaten start to 2018

NYCFC's unbeaten start comes to an end as Portland grab three points for just the second time this season.

Portland Timbers end NYCFC's unbeaten start to 2018
Rodney Wallace taking on Zarek Valentin. | Photo: New York City FC
Portland Timbers
3 0
New York City FC
Portland Timbers: Attinella; Valentin, Ridgewell, Mabiala, Powell; Blanco, Chara, Paredes, Flores (Asprilla, min. 90); Valeri (Polo, min. 78), Adi (Armenteros, min. 85).
New York City FC: Johnson, Matarrita (McNamara, min. 70), Callens, Chanot, Tinnerholm; Ring, Ofori (Herrera, min. 79), Moralez; Berget, David Villa, Wallace (Medina, min. 61).
SCORE: 1-0, min. 26, Blanco. 2-0, min. 38, Adi. 3-0, min. 66, Mabiala.

On Sunday, New York City FC took a trip out west to for their first battle with a Cascadia club in 2018. Providence Park played host to the NYCFC's game vs the Portland Timbers.

David Villa made his first start for the visitors since NYCFC's home opener in March after making two substitute appearances in the club's last two games. A bit of rotating still occurred for the boys in blue as Yangel Herrera and Designated Player, Jesus Medina started the match on the bench.

First Half

The viewers didn't have to wait long to see the first big chance of the game. In an attempt to switch the field, Maxi Moralez's pass was cut out by Sebastian Blanco who surged forward. Fanendo Adi's run opened play up and Blanco took the shot on. The Argentine's shot flashed over the bar letting the visitors off easy.

Portland continued to get chances but NYCFC's defense was equally as good. Despite being known for exciting play going forward, NYCFC has improved defensively every year since their inaugural season and they put that on display early at Providence Park.

On Blanco's third chance of the game (this one being the most difficult of the three), he converted and gave his side the lead. The 5'7" midfielder leaped highest and gave his side a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute as his looping header somehow went in at the far post.

The hosts doubled their lead in the 38th minute through Fanendo Adi. Diego Valeri's low cross/shot was pushed into Adi's path who snuck past Maxime Chanot and found himself open at the far post. A half heavily possessed by NYCFC came to an end with the hosts up 2-0.

Second Half

In the opening couple minutes, Rodney Wallace had a chance to grab one back. Jo Inge Berget's cushioned header fell kindly to Rodney Wallace who somehow managed to hit the woodwork from just a few yards out. Luckily, the offside flag came up to let him know the goal wouldn't have stood anyway.

From that point on NYCFC took more control of the game. Long spells of possession for the visitors often ended in the arms of Jeff Attinella. It felt like the boys in blue (or white, on this occasion) could smell a goal to cut the deficit in half.

They pushed and they pushed but the goal came in the other goal. Portland scored on a corner kick through Larrys Mabiala. The defender rose highest to extend Portland's lead to three goals. With that, Diego Valeri became Portland's all-time assist leader.

After that, neither side was able to create any real chances and the game ended 3-0 to the hosts. NYCFC's unbeaten streak to start to the season comes to an end and Portland claimed their second win of the season. 

What's Next?

For Sunday's hosts, they'll travel down the coast and take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium before returning home for back-to-back games at Providence Park. Those two games will include a Cascadia battle between the Seattle Sounders before their first-ever meeting with LAFC.

As their unbeaten streak comes to an end, NYCFC are now tasked with ending FC Dallas' unbeaten start to 2018. After that, they'll travel to New Jersey for the first Hudson River Derby of the year when they take on the New York Red Bulls. Then, like Portland, they'll take on LAFC for the first time in club history but their meeting will take place at MLS' newest stadium, Banc of California Stadium.