FRISCO, Texas – A Diego Valeri double saw Portland Timbers through the Knockout round of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup…
FRISCO, Texas – A Diego Valeri double saw Portland Timbers through the Knockout round of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs at the site of their 2015 MLS Western Conference Championship win. The game had some similarities to the second leg at the Toyota Stadium as Timbers once again held a late FC Dallas comeback and won 2-1, but the Argentine does not look too far into the Timber’s MLS Cup winning side.
“It’s different,” said Valeri. “Another season, another group, but we showed a strong character. Strong personality from the team. It’s not an easy stadium to play and not a single team. They are a very good team. We showed good unity, a good performance and We fought like [it was] a final. “
After a clear twelve-minute goal, the Reto Ziegler goal was dismissed after Video Review, giving Valeri the lead with an inch perfect free kick 23 minutes into the match. With a chippy game developed between two teams that has encouraged a competitive rivalry, the game looked as if one side could find a man and it came 58 minutes into the match when Larrys Mabiala made a mistake for an error on Dominique Badji. With Dallas threatening, a Portland interrupted Jesse Gonzalez tried to break the ball from his feet to Jeremy Ebobisse, who hit Valeri with an open network.
“I think it was an even game until the second goal” Valeri. “After the red card they came hard and were attacked very well. They put in many crosses and forced us to be deep.”
Valir’s brace saw his statistics rise to five goals and two help 16 looks towards the north Texas club. The Timbers were undefeated in three MLS Cup Playoff matches with Dallas. After pulling both regular season games, Portland seems to have an ability to put it on in the fall season.
“I do not know why,” said Valeri. “They are a good team with a lot of quality in the players, a good coaching staff and hard to beat. We could not beat them during the regular season, but it happens. We were smart today and efficient and it allowed us to win.” 
Despite a senate Matt Hedge’s consolation goal, Timbers showed seven minutes of stopping time to win a Western conference semifinal clash with either Sporting Kansas City or Seattle Sounders. When asked about Valir’s effect on both sides of the ball, Portland’s head coach Gio Savarese was brief in his description of the ruling Landon Donovan MVP Award winner.
“Big players know how important it is in the game, and he did a great job today.”