Lucas Cavallini goal lifts Vancouver Whitecaps over Portland Timbers

Apr 18, 2021; Sandy, Utah, USA; Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Deiber Caicedo (7) plays the ball while defended by Portland Timbers midfielder Eryk Williamson (19) during the first half at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Lucas Cavallini’s goal early in the second half was the only one of the night in the season opener between two rivals, and it was enough to give the host Vancouver Whitecaps a 1-0 win Sunday night over the Portland Timbers in Sandy, Utah.

After a first half in which his team didn’t generate much in the way of an attack, the Whitecaps barely missed the game’s opening goal when Andy Rose slid a slow, rolling tap that hit a post and was cleared out.

The corner kick that followed led to the game’s lone goal, in the 49th minute. Cristian Gutierrez provided the corner, the ball finding an open Cavallini at the back post for a header into the top left corner of the net.

The Whitecaps thought they had taken a 2-0 lead when Cristian Dajome kicked in a loose ball off a set piece in the 82nd minute. But upon video review, the goal was overturned for offsides.

The Timbers got new life and a chance for a draw, but could not put in a goal despite five minutes of added time.

Portland’s three-game winning streak against Vancouver came to an end, and the Whitecaps won just their second season opener since 2015, shutting out the Timbers for the third time since the two teams joined Major League Soccer together in 2011.

The Timbers had the highest quality chances to score in the first half. In the 39th minute, Diego Valeri grazed the crossbar on a cross, with Dairon Asprilla there to nearly put in the ball.

Asprilla was the most dangerous player on the pitch late in the half. A free kick into the box in the final minute was knocked around, and Asprilla tried a bicycle kick from in front of the net but the shot went high over the goal.

The Whitecaps are sharing the home of MLS rival Real Salt Lake to start this season, with COVID still restricting travel between Canada and the United States.

The Timbers might have had some fatigue, having already played two meaningful matches in the CONCACAF Champions League this month and a second leg match just five days prior to their opener. They also had to change goalkeepers in the 78th minute, with Steve Clark hobbled after a previous collision.

–Field Level Media