Portland Timbers’ Zarek Valentin, front left, and Vancouver Whitecaps’ Jake Nerwinski vie for the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver on Friday May 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Portland Timbers’ Zarek Valentin, front left, and Vancouver Whitecaps’ Jake Nerwinski vie for the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver on Friday May 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Montero’s goal lifts Whitecaps past Timbers 1-0

Vancouver beats Portland in MLS clash of Cascadia foes

VANCOUVER — Forward Fredy Montero scored an early goal and the Vancouver Whitecaps refused to fold under pressure from the Portland Timbers to collect a 1-0 victory Friday night.

Montero scored in the ninth minute after midfielder Hwang Inbeom sent a pretty ball forward. Veteran Russell Teibert chipped the ball over to Montero who scored his team-leading third goal of the year with a left-footed shot over the shoulder of Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark.

Clark had to look sharp just a few minutes later. One of his own defencemen headed a ball that the leaping goalie had to steer away with his fingertips.

The Timbers had a great opportunity in the 71st minute when Sebastian Blanco threaded a pass to an open Diego Valeri. Whitecaps goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau was able to scoop up Valeri’s shot, bringing a cheer from the crowd of 18,356 at BC Place Stadium.

It’s the first time this season the Whitecaps (3-5-3) have won consecutive games. Vancouver is (3-1-2) in its last six matches.

The Timbers (3-6-1) saw a three-game win streak snapped.

There was a fan protest in the 35th minute. A whole section of Portland followers joined two Whitecaps supporter groups and some Vancouver fans in leaving their seats to show solidarity with female players impacted by allegations of bullying and harassment by a former coach.

Similar protests were held at two previous Whitecaps matches.

More than a dozen women who played for the Whitecaps and were part of Canada’s under-20 talent pool around 2008, have come forward to allege Bob Birarda, a former coach for both squads, acted inappropriately with members of the team.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The Whitecaps looked sharp for the first 20 minutes of the match. Montero had another good scoring chance look in the 17th minute when he took a cross from Jon Erice and launched a right-footed shot that Clark stopped.

The Timbers found their pace late in the half. Portland looked dangerous off a pair of corner kicks around the 26th minute. Both Larrys Mabiala and Bill Tuiloma connected with headers that tested Crepeau.

The Timbers continued to challenge in the second half. Early on Blanco took a left-footed shot that a diving Crepeau stopped.

RELATED: Hwang’s first MLS goal lifts Whitecaps to 1-0 win over LAFC

NOTES: Friday’s game was the second of seven MLS matches in May for Vancouver. … Whitecaps forward Yordy Reyna missed his second game with a hamstring injury. Also out for Vancouver were midfielders Michael Baldisimo (left ankle contusion) and David Norman Jr. (right foot surgery) and defender Jasser Khmiri (left knee). … Forward Brian Fernandez, signed on Monday as a designated player, didn’t dress for the Timbers as he’s serving a suspension for getting into a shouting match with a fan while with his former team in Mexico.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

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