FT: Portland 3, New York City 0
This was as bad a performance as New York City have had in some time. Giovanni Savarese remains unbeaten against the Pigeons, dating to his days coaching the New York Cosmos. But it goes beyond that: New York City were utterly listless, devoid of imagination in offense, and fragile in defense. David Villa was invisible throughout the game, and no one else stepped up.
There’s nothing positive to take away from this game. Nothing. This was the kind of game where the team collectively embarrassed itself, and deserves no praise. To name a “Star of the Match” is to make a mockery of the idea. There were no stars. It was an abject performance from root to stem.
Let’s be clear: the scoreline isn’t the issue; it was the performance. If New York City is going to win any kind of trophy, if people are gonna consider them an elite team in Major League Soccer, then outings like this have to be unacceptable. There was no hunger on the field today, no desire. The next two opponents for the Pigeons are FC Dallas -- the last unbeaten team in the league -- and the Red Bulls. Based on today’s performance, you should absolutely expect New York City to get spanked hard.
84’: There’s not much to be happy about in this performance, but New York City’s Twitter account is asking for suggestions for its Heineken™ Star of the Match. Allow me to make a novel suggestion: no one.
78’: Yangel Herrera on for Ebenezer Ofori. Vieira makes his final change. It’s Herrera for Ofori. I think it’s safe to say that Vieira is tossing the towel in this one.
69’: Tommy McNamara on for Ronald Matarrita. The last time New York City beat Portland, T-Mac scored the game winner.
That, to put it lightly, doesn’t look bloody likely right now.
66’: Goal, Portland Timbers, 3-0. Larry Mabiala.
All good things must come to an end, and it looks like New York City’s unbeaten start to the season will be one of those things. Diego Valeri takes the corner, and Larry Mabiala is absolutely unmarked as he drills home the header. With the goal, Valeri becomes Portland’s all-time leader in assists and goals.
60’: Rodney Wallace off for Jesus Medina. And at the hour mark, here comes the sub. It’s Medina, who leads the league in assists.
55’: If Vieira was hoping that New York City would fix itself, it hasn’t become apparent so far. He needs to make a sub in order to breathe some life into the Pigeons. The possession is a little bit more purposeful, but down 2-0, New York City are going to need a little bit more than purposeful possession to get back into this one.
46’: Second half is underway. Vieira’s made no changes, which means he’s probably going to rely on the side to fix itself.
Right off the bat, Rodney Wallace finds himself with the ball on the Portland doorstep. Which, of course, he manages to fluff. Not that it matters, because he was about two feet offside — of course.
HT: Portland Timbers 2, New York City 0
Yes, this is a deserved lead for the Timbers, and the Pigeons have been that bad. Absolutely nothing in the attacking third for New York City, apart from a Villa shot. They’ve had three-quarters of the possession, and have done absolutely jack squat with it.
This is a team screaming for a half-time sub, and Vieira needs to make Wallace that sub. He’s not contributed anything for a year, and his continued presence in the starting lineup makes absolutely no sense. Vieira knows his team is in dire straits: “If we don’t wake up, it will be more than 2-0”, he said in the half-time interview.
38’: Goal, Portland Timbers, 2-0. Fanendo Adi.
If you want to know why people — Patrick Vieira aside — think Rodney Wallace shouldn’t be starting for New York City, the sequence leading up to this goal is as good an example as any. A Wallace turnover leads to a Timbers counter, which results in Diego Valeri shooting, and Adi tapping in the rebound.
This is a thoroughly deserved lead for Portland. New York City simply haven’t shown up.
26’: Goal, Portland Timbers, 1-0. Sebastian Blanco.
That goal was coming...but what a bad goal to concede. Once again, Sean Johnson fails to communicate with his defenders -- Alexander Callens, in this case. Portland takes the short corner, Diego Valeri floats up a ball into the box. Blanco gets to it, and lobs up a hopeful header to the far corner.
And neither Johnson nor Callens take control of the moment. Both think the other is going to claim the ball, and as a result neither claims it. That results in Portland taking the lead.
22’: New York City may be edging Portland in possession, but it’s the Timbers who’ve had all the gilt-edged chances so far in this game. A big reason for that is that David Villa’s been largely anonymous this game, and Medina — the leading assist creator in MLS — is on the bench. Jo Inge Berget is good at holding up play and chasing the ball, but he’s not a scoring option.
14’: A Portland corner leads to an almighty scramble in which New York City barely avoids giving up a goal. That leads to another corner, that comes to naught. A third corner results in Diego Chara trying to tee up a ball for Liam Ridgewell, before Diego Valeri blasts the ball into the crowd.
5’: Another near-miss for Sebastian Blanco! He’s open at the near post, and fluffs his chance! He really should’ve done much better, and the Pigeons are lucky not to be in a 2-0 hole very early on.
1’: We’re off! New York City have the best road record in MLS since Vieira took over in 2015. Meanwhile, with the Red Bulls’ loss to Chicago yesterday, Portland now have the best home record in the league. Something has to give, you’d think.
New York City have the ball early. But as they try to switch the ball from side to side, Sebastian Blanco pounces on the ball, accelerates...and shoots just a bit over the bar.
This is Earth Day weekend, so all the MLS teams are wearing custom-designed jerseys commemorating the adidas-Parley partnership. The jerseys are made of repurposed plastic materiel. New York City will be wearing white, and Portland grey. Speaking of the weather: it’s sunny, 61 degrees at Providence Park.
There’s a lot of noise surrounding Patrick Vieira’s future with New York City. He’s been linked to the soon-to-be vacant seat at Arsenal, with Arsène Wenger’s impending departure at the end of the English Premier League season. We’ll see if that noise affects how the Pigeons fly tonight.
Kickoff is next.
The rosters are out, and there are some interesting changes. David Villa gets the start after coming on as a sub last week against Atlanta. That’s to be expected. What isn’t is Ebenezer Ofori starting in place of Yangel Herrera, who’s on the bench today. Also surprising is Jo Inge Berget starting in place of Jesus Medina, who’s also on the bench. Medina is the league leader in assists, so his absence is notable.
New York City Starting XI (4-3-3, L-to-R): Johnson; Matarrita, Callens, Chanot, Tinnerholm; Ring, Ofori, Moralez; Wallace, Villa (c), Berget
Bench: Stuver; Abdul-Salaam, Ibeagha, Sweat; Herrera, McNamara, Medina
- Suspended: None
- Injury: OUT: Kwame Awuah (knee); Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (hamstring)
Portland Starting XI (4-3-2-1, L-to-R): Attinella; Valentin, Ridgewell, Mabiala, Powell; Chara, Flores, Paredes; Blanco, Valeri (c); Adi
Bench: Gleeson, Cascante, Farfan, Olum, Polo, Asprilla, Armenteros
- Suspended: None
- Injury: OUT: Roy Miller (left Achilles tendon), David Guzman (right knee); QUESTIONABLE: Vytas (right thigh)
Referees: Ted Unkel (referee); Adam Wienckowski, Michael Kampmeinert (assistant referees); Nima Saghafi (4th official); Kevin Terry, Jr. (VAR)
How To Watch
Match date & time: April 22, 2018, 6:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Providence Park, Portland, OR
Online streaming: FOX Sports Go.
TV: FS1, DAZN (in Canada)
Local radio: WNYE 91.5 FM — English (Crooks, Kolker, Masur, Lawrence); WADO 1280 AM — Spanish (Abramowitz, Judas).
All-time series: New York City travels to Portland looking to maintain their unbeaten record in Major League Soccer. They’re 5-0-2 after seven games; both of the draws have come on the road, after pulsating encounters with the New England Revolution and Atlanta United. In both cases, the Pigeons came back from one-goal deficits to level things and come away with valuable road points.
Can they do the same here in Portland? The Timbers and Pigeons have met three times; Portland leads the series with two wins, but New York City had the last laugh in their last meeting at Portland, which came on May 15, 2016. That was a 2-1 victory for the Pigeons at Providence Park. David Villa scored in the 12th minute before Fanendo Adi squared things off in the 55th minute. Ten minutes later, Andrea Pirlo squared the ball for Tommy McNamara — who scored on a long, looping shot from the top of the box. However, Portland won the most recent meeting — a drab 1-0 decision in September of last year as New York City limped to the playoffs.
Will McNamara reprise his heroics today to keep New York City unbeaten? How will New York City deal without the potential absence of sudden scoring sensation Ismael Tajouri-Shradi? These are some of the questions at hand this evening. Watch with us.
This post will update with highlights and information as we receive it.