Timbers edge CD Dragon to start CCL campaign

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Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers salutes the fans after scoring the winning goal against the CD Dragon of El Salvador.

Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers salutes the fans after scoring the winning goal against the CD Dragon of El Salvador.

by Matt Hoffman (@mhoff)

Even though it was a CONCACAF Champions League match, many things about Wednesday’s fixture with CD Dragon were in line with expectations of a regular MLS gala affair.  Caleb Porter produced a strong line-up that included Fanendo Adi and Diego Valeri. Timber Joey was on hand to slice off log slabs.

So it was like any other Timbers game. Well, almost.

Indeed, CONCACAF and the Timbers did make for strange bedfellows. Pre-match a be-jacketed consortium of CONCACAF officials inspected the nets and leter restricted replays to only goals (and that was with significant lobbying). Then there was this:

“We knew this was important to win. When you start to look at this tournament and really break it down, Saprissa is the strongest team, for sure. That’s the reality, but we knew [C.D. Dragon] would not be a slouch team.” -Caleb Porter

I did not instruct my players to be aggressive. -CD Dragon Manager Omar Sevilla [translated]

22nd minute: Jack McInerney opens the scoring! Timbers 1, CD Dragon 0.

Portland Timbers forward Jack McIriney pushes to goal pass CD Dragon keeper Herny Hernandez.

Portland Timbers forward Jack McIriney pushes to goal pass CD Dragon keeper Herny Hernandez.

Diego Valeri shoots to score the final 2-1 for the Portland Timbers.

Diego Valeri shoots to score the final 2-1 for the Portland Timbers.

55th minute: CD Dragon gets their first of five yellow cards

Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri takes a shot on goal defended by defender Blas Lizama of CD Dragon3

Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri takes a shot on goal defended by defender Blas Lizama of CD Dragon

76th minute: Disaster! A botched clearance levels the score 1-1.

90th minute: After an hour of politely knocking, Diego Valeri barges through the door saving the result. Timbers 2, Dragon 1.

Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers salutes the fans after scoring the winning goal against the CD Dragon of El Salvador.

Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers salutes the fans after scoring the winning goal against the CD Dragon of El Salvador.

FT: The smoke grenades go off and the Timbers get three necessary points.

PROST-20160803-PORvDRAGON-CONCACAFF-21

The Timbers next CONCACAF Champions League match will be on September 14th in Costa Rica. The Timbers resume MLS play Sunday against Sporting Kansas City.

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