Tag Archives: Nani

Portland Timbers defeat Orlando City SC in MLS is Back final

When the World Cup-style tournament began on July 8, no one was quite sure how it would turn out. With FC Dallas and Nashville SC withdrawing due to several COVID-19 results, there was uncertainty if there would ever be an end result. 

However, one month and three days later, the Portland Timbers were crowned the champions of the MLS is Back Tournament with a 2-1 victory over Orlando City SC at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The victory by the Timbers not only gave them the chance to hoist the coveted trophy but it also guaranteed them a spot in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League as well as $300,000 in prize money.

Portland, who were in their third cup final in six years, were able to get on the board first in the 27th-minute. After left-back Jorge Villafaña won a free kick in the attacking half, club legend Diego Valeri delivered a perfect ball to Larrys Mabiala, who was able to head it in past goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

 

Moments later, however, the Lions were able to equalise when Mauricio Pereyra found the back of the net after receiving a cross from former Manchester United player Dani.

 

In the 66th-minute, the Timbers were able to score what turned out to be the winner after the ball magically landed in front of Dario Zuparic, who poked it into the net.

 

It was a Cinderella story for Orlando, who were not even supposed to do well in their group, much less make the final. However, after winning their group and getting some impressive victories in the knockout stage, including an upset over tournament favourite Los Angeles FC, head coach Oscar Pareja has a lot to look forward to in the future.

For Portland, their experience in title matches showed as they remained cool, calm, and collected in winning their first piece of silverware since they won the 2015 MLS Cup. It was also an impressive feat because they were able to defeat a team who play approximately 20 miles away from where the matches were being held for this tournament.

 

The MLS is resuming its regular season play today, when FC Dallas host Nashville SC after both teams were disqualified from the tournament in the Sunshine State.

On August 23, the Portland Timbers will return to action as they host rival Seattle Sounders in a much-anticipated matchup. Orlando City, meanwhile, will travel to Fort Lauderdale, where they will take on in-state rival Inter Miami on August 22.

Walt Disney World is known as the place “Where Dreams Come True,” and the Portland Timbers were able to experience that feeling as they are on top of the MLS.

Orlando City score late-winner against Inter Miami on MLS return

It had been exactly four months since the last MLS game, when LAFC and the Philadelphia Union battled it out for a 3-3 draw. This season was supposed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the league but it turned out to be a disaster courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the league’s first match in 122 days, Orlando City were able to beat their in-state rivals, Inter Miami, 2-1. This was the first MLS match between two teams from Florida since May 26, 2001, when the Miami Fusion annihilated the Tampa Bay Mutiny 4-0 in Tampa.

The first half for both clubs was rather scrappy but it gave a chance to shake off the rust after not being able to play a competitive match since March. It was The Lions, however, that seemed to look sharper throughout the opening 45 minutes.

Two minutes after the start of the second half, Victor Ulloa delivered a brilliant cross to Juan Agudelo, who was able to find the back of the net. 

 

However, things took a turn for the worse for The Herons as they lost one of their defender’s in a scary moment. 

Miami’s Andrés Reyes collided with Orlando’s Dom Dwyer, a former youth player for Norwich City, Staines Town, and King’s Lynn, in the 51st-minute. This caused the Colombian international to have shortness of breath and had to leave the match on a stretcher.

After the match resumed, Orlando City were able to level the score at 1-1 in the 70th-minute, when Nani crossed the ball to Chris Mueller, who was able to score despite the ball touching goalkeeper Luis Robles’ hands.

 

With 10 minutes of extra-time added on due to Reyes’ injury, The Lions were able to take advantage.  Nani, who has won several trophies with Sporting CP, Manchester United, and the Portuguese national team, was able to score in the seventh minute of stoppage time to seal the victory for the hosts. 

 

Although the circumstances are not ideal with the games being played with in front of an empty field at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, fans can be excited to have soccer back in North America. In fact, the MLS has the privilege to be the first men’s pro sports league to return.

See full report on the NWSL return below:

https://247-football.com/2020/06/27/north-carolina-courage-defeat-portland-thorns-in-opening-match-of-nwsl-challenge-cup/