Portland Timbers won an entertaining match at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.At least the Vancouver Whitecaps aren’t playing boring soccer anymore.Yes, they lost to the Portland Timbers on Saturday at Provident Park in Portland, Ore. But they didn’t go down without a fight.August has proven to be a far more entertaining month for Whitecaps fans, as their team has found an attacking energy that was largely absent in June and July.July was so bad, including a shocking loss in the Canadian Championship, that Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos called the month a nightmare this week.The dream for Dos Santos would be that his team quickly rights itself and somehow, from miles back in the playoff chase, pulls itself into the postseason.That’s not happening but at least his reality looks dismal no longer.The Whitecaps got a wonder goal from Theo Bair but two howitzer-like efforts from Portland’s Sebastian Blanco and Marvin Loria and then a late goal on a counterattack by Jeremy Ebobisse outbalanced the visitors.
Vancouver Whitecaps forward Theo Bair (50) celebrates his spectacular goal.
Troy Wayrynen /
USA TODAY Sports
Here’s what we learned…Step aside Eric HassliTheo Bair said his time would come, that the goal would be there, that he wasn’t worried.What he didn’t tell us was he was waiting for a spectacular moment.You know you’ve scored a spectacular goal when you’re being compared with Eric Hassli. The Whitecaps’ legendary striker scored a goal with his back to the net in 2011 in Seattle.Everyone remembers that. It’s the best goal anyone has ever scored in blue and white.Bair’s effort against Portland on Saturday may have bested Hassli’s, given Bair’s was a first-touch shot, while Hassli had to nudge the ball into the air before making his strike.Either way, though, they’re outstanding goals, ones that will be talked about for years.Screaming treesYou have to give credit where it’s due: Bair’s goal may have been the best in Caps history, but it may not have been the best in the game.Both Timbers goals were screamers, first from Blanco in the first half, then by Loria in the second half.Both shots were taken outside the 18-yard box, both blasted just past the outstreched hands of Max Crepeau.Maybe he could have done better on the Blanco effort, but the creative midfielder put so much English on his shot, not to mention power, you can hardly blame him.Loria’s short was a true marvel, with a late dip to find the bottom corner of the net.
Aug 10, 2019; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Timbers midfielder Renzo Zambrano (40) and Vancouver Whitecaps forward Theo Bair (50) battle for control of the ball during the first half at Providence Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Wayrynen /
USA TODAY Sports
Rough rideAli Adnan made a brave block with his head early in the game — shortly after a spectacular Crepeau save, the first of many on the night — and stayed down for a time.He appeared to strain his groin on a clearance kick not long after.Adnan hurt his groin in late May; it’s hard to recover completely from damage to the area during the season, so it’s entirely possible this latest strain is related to the earlier problem.Lively startThe return of Yordy Reyna, predictably, gave some jump to the Whitecaps’ attack. Reyna started at centre forward, flanked by Fredy Montero and Theo Bair.The pace to the game continued all night, with chances flowing from end to end, even if the Whitecaps continued to struggle to move the ball through the middle of the pitch.Reyna looked to have scored a goal to tie things up halfway through the second half but he was whistled for being offside.Cascadia Cup dateThe Portland win means the Timbers are in the driver’s seat for the Cascadia Cup, which is awarded to the team with the most points in games between Portland, Vancouver and Seattle.There’s one game left between the teams, with Portland hosting Seattle next month.The Timbers now have six points, two up on both the Sounders and the Whitecaps. Seattle will need to beat Portland to take the cup for 2019. The Sounders were champions in 2018.The Whitecaps last won the trophy in firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter.com/risingactionNEXT GAMESaturdayVancouver Whitecaps vs. D.C. United7 p.m., B.C. Place Stadium, TV: TSN 1/4; Radio: TSN 1040 AMCLICK HERE to report a typo.Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email email@example.com