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Portland 3, NYCFC 0: City falls to Timbers in hapless contest

The Boys in Blue taste first defeat in Cascadia

MLS: New York City FC at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off an impressive 2-2 draw on the road against Atlanta United, New York City FC seemed poised to continue their dominance over MLS heading into Cascadia to take on the Portland Timbers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as the Boys in Blue lost in a one-sided 3-0 contest, putting a crooked number in the ‘L’ column for the first time in 2018.

NYCFC started the game on their back foot, twice conceding quality chances to Portland’s Sebastian Blanco within the first five minutes. The defensive pairing of Maxime Chanot and Alex Callens continued to snuff out the Timbers chances early on, but City’s inability to effectively move the ball forward into the attacking third meant that they were under constant pressure.

Blanco would finally convert in the 27th minute. The Argentine midfielder would send an arching headed shot towards the back post, which Callens and goalkeeper Sean Johnson let sneak in due to a critical miscommunication. The goal gave the Timbers a 1-0 lead, which already seemed insurmountable due to how NYCFC was playing up until that point.

Only ten minutes later, Portland would add to their lead.

The reigning MLS MVP Diego Valeri sent in a low far-post shot, which Johnson would get a touch on. Unfortunately, the parry wouldn’t be good enough as Fanendo Adi would be right there to calmly tap the ball home, giving the home side a 2-0 advantage headed to the locker room.

The second half saw NYCFC make some progress towards moving the ball forward more effectively. However, the minimal improvements were not enough to get the Boys in Blue back in the game.

The contest would be put to bed entirely in the 66th minute following a Timbers set-piece leading to Larrys Mabiala heading in a goal to solidify the 3-0 victory.

David Villa would be dangerously brought down in the box by Diego Chara in the 88th minute. But referee Ted Unkel would not point to the spot, denying Villa of the opportunity to bag the 400th goal of his career in the dying moments. This would effectively end the contest.

Next up: NYCFC get a chance to return to their winning form in a return to the Bronx to take on FC Dallas — MLS’s last remaining unbeaten team this season — at Yankee Stadium on April 29.