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Portland Timbers 3, New York City FC 0 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

The Portland Timbers scribbled the first blemish onto New York City FC's MLS-leading, undefeated start to the 2018 season on Sunday, executing a counterpunching strategy to perfection in a 3-0 win at Providence Park. 

The visitors exerted a strangehold on possession, completing nearly 800 passes (MLS' fifth-best since OPTA began tracking that data in 2010) and topping 91 percent in accuracy (seventh-best since 2010). But the Timbers' tenacious defending and tigerish work in midfield left the New Yorkers second-best in scoreboard terms on a sunny afternoon in the Rose City, handing NYCFC their first loss after a 5-0-2 opening to the campaign.

Sebastian Blanco scored a looping header to push the early league leaders onto the back foot and a Fanendo Adi tap-in after a quick counterattack doubled the hosts' lead shortly before halftime. After the break, a Larrys Mabiala corner-kick header capped the emphatic result.

Goals

  • 26' – POR – Sebastian Blanco | WATCH
  • 38' – POR – Fanendo Adi | WATCH
  • 66' – POR – Larrys Mabiala | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Portland may have gotten a glimpse of their own identity under Giovanni Savarese, while giving the rest of the league a decent blueprint for beating the early Supporters' Shield frontrunners.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Adi's tap-in after Sean Johnson could only parry an angled Diego Valeri effort not only doubled the lead, it allowed the Timbers to set up their defensive shop and prey on transition opportunities.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Blanco made the biggest impression when it mattered most, seizing the early initiative to rally a PTFC side that entered this game with fragile confidence.

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