Jack Jewsbury scored in the 39th minute as the Portland Timbers upset the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 in Major League Soccer action Sunday.
Playing their final home game of the season, the Whitecaps (11-13-9) missed a chance to become the first Canadian MLS team to qualify for the playoffs, but qualified later Sunday night when Seattle beat Dallas 3-1.
The Whitecaps will visit the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference 4th vs 5th playoff match. The match is expected to be played on October 31st or November 1st, in LA.
The Whitecaps close the regular season this Saturday, with a road match against Real Salt Lake.
The Timbers (8-16-9) posted their first road victory of the season and also ended a six-game losing streak before a disappointed sellout crowd of 21,000 at B.C. Place Stadium.
Steven Smith started the scoring play from the left flank, sending a rolling cross to Franck Songo’o near the top of the Vancouver 18-yard box. Songo’o then tapped the ball back to Jewsbury and he quickly fired his shot home.
It was Jewsbury’s first goal in two and a half months. He last scored against Dallas on Aug. 5 against Portland.
The Whitecaps controlled much of the play thereafter, but could not get the equalizer.
Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie started Kenny Miller and Camilo up front following their success in Vancouver’s convincing 4-0 victory over Chivas USA on Oct. 3. Top scorer Darren Mattocks, sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered two games ago against Seattle, dressed as a reserve, along with fellow Jamaican Dane Richards.
Both clubs came out tentatively as the Whitecaps had everything to play for and the Timbers had nothing but pride on the line. Camilo had an excellent chance to score in the fifth minutes, but Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts caught his header off a Barry Robson cross.
A short time later, Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit made a sliding tackle on Bright Dike in the Whitecaps 18-yard box to alleviate a Timbers scoring threat.
In the 14th minute, Vancouver almost capitalized on an own goal as Portland defender Steven Smith sent the ball back hard to Ricketts, but the goalkeeper kicked it out.
But Smith made up for his miscue by initiating Portland’s first goal.
Camilo was cautioned in the 53rd minute for stomping on Smith’s foot. The Brazilian had a dangerous chance six minutes later, but he could not run on to a lead ball in time. Ricketts beat him to it as Camilo missed an attempt to boot it over the Timbers goalkeeper.
Vancouver coach Rennie attempted to inject some offence in the 61st minute as he replaced Alain Rochat in midfield with Richards. Rochat had suffered an apparent hip or thigh injury during the sequence in which Camilo was cautioned and attempted to stay in the game, but the Swiss-Canadian was not his usual effective self and walked off disappointed.
Six minutes later, Rennie subbed Mattocks in for Camilo. The moves worked as Vancouver began to press.
Ricketts ran down a Mattocks header as it bounced near the left post and also batted away a Robson corner kick. Rennie tried to go for evern more offence in the 77th minute as he inserted left-winger Omar Salgado for midfielder Matt Watson.
It was Salgado’s first MLS appearance since May. He suffered a broken foot while playing for the U.S. under-20 team in Uruguay in June.
Notes: The Whitecaps complete their regular season Saturday in Salt Lake City. … If Vancouver beats LA in the playoff round, they will play a two-game, home-and-home series based on aggregate goals in the second round. … Richards’ appearance was potentially his last in a Whitecaps uniform at B.C. Place. He has signed to play with English side Burnley in the Championship League next season. … Young-Pyo Lee was chosen by fans as Vancouver’s Player of the Year.