Timbers eliminated from playoffs with 4-1 loss to Vancouver

October 24, 2016
Vancouver Whitecaps' Erik Hurtado, front, and Portland Timbers' Jermaine Taylor reach for the ball with their feet during the first half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Sunday Oct. 23, 2016. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Giles Barnes scored twice and the Vancouver Whitecaps beat the Portland Timbers 4-1 on Sunday to eliminate the defending MLS Cup champions from the playoffs.

Both of Barnes’ goals came in the first half at BC Place and the Timbers couldn’t catch up. The Whitecaps (10-15-9) had already been eliminated from the playoffs but they claimed the Pacific Northwest’s Cascadia Cup on goal differential with the victory.

Portland (12-14-8) finished the season without a win on the road.

“When I look at the overall performance, I didn’t think we were good,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. “I didn’t think we defended well, and I thought we had some surprisingly poor performances out of our keys guys.”

Barnes’ first goal came in the 13th minute, and he slotted his second in the 32nd. The goals were his first with Vancouver after being traded from Houston in late July.

Pedro Morales scored in the 54th minute for his ninth goal of the season. He doffed his jersey in celebration following the goal and was handed a yellow card.

Nicolas Mezquida followed with a goal a minute later as the Timbers’ playoff hopes nosedived. Diego Valeri scored on a penalty kick in the 71st minute to avoid the shutout.

“This performance absolutely drives me mad,” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said. “I know we have the players to do it, but we haven’t done it on a consistent basis. Why? I don’t know. I’m going to get to bottom of it because I don’t want to be sitting here next year saying the same things to you like a broken record. We finished on a high today, but I’m not fooled.”

Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted stopped what appeared to be an easy goal for Portland’s Lucas Melano in the 18th minute. Melano was subbed out for the second half.

The Timbers, one of four teams vying for three open playoff spots in the Western Conference at the start of the day, did not have starters Liam Ridgewell and Diego Chara for the match against the Whitecaps because of yellow card accumulation.

“There has to be some long, hard discussions and reflexion on what went wrong,” Porter said. “It’s a combination of things, but for me there were holes in the team all year long.”

The Cascadia Cup goes to the winner of the three-way competition between the Whitecaps, Timbers and Seattle Sounders. The award was created by supporters of the three teams back in 2004. Seattle claimed the Cascadia Cup last season and fans from the Emerald City Supporters brought the trophy to BC Place.

“I can’t fault any of my players today,” Robinson said. “I thought we played with an energy and an enthusiasm and a will and a desire, but we haven’t done that too many times this year, which is why we are where we are.”

The Timbers were eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday night when they played to a 1-1 draw with Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa at Portland’s Providence Park.

It was the final match for Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury, who has played for 14 MLS seasons with his final six in Portland. Traveling fans at BC Place canted “Captain Jack!” in his honor after the game.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Jewsbury said after Sunday’s match. “I never knew what I was getting into when I came to this team in 2011.”