Portland’s Cristhian Paredes (22) battles for control of the ball during the first half against NYCFC defender Ronald Matarrita (22) at Providence Park. (Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports)
PORTLAND, Ore. — New York City FC kissed its unbeaten record goodbye Sunday.
In its poorest performance by far this young Major League Soccer season, City dropped a 3-0 decision to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park.
The result left NYCFC (5-1-2, 17 points), trying to become the eighth league team to start the season unbeaten, atop the Eastern Conference, a point ahead of Atlanta United FC (5-1-1, 16).
Portland (2-3-2, 8), which began the day in 11th place in the Western Conference, moved up to ninth place, thanks to the three points.
“To get a win against New York City is a big one,” said Fanendo Adi, who tallied the Timbers’ second goal.
The win also was the Timbers’ second in a row for new coach Giovanni Savarese, who left the Cosmos after the 2017 North American Soccer League season for a new challenge some 3,000 miles to the west.
City captain David Villa, making his first start in almost a month, was never much of a factor in the match.
NYCFC has allowed five goals in its past two matches, after last week’s 2-2 draw at Atlanta United FC.
“I think the first reason is the quality of the teams that we’ve played against,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said. “You have to give credit to the opposition team, how well they’ve been playing. I think today, we played against a team that prepared for the game well, who were well organized. We had the possession, but it was difficult for us to find space and they made it difficult for us. They scored goals in the period that it was difficult for us. All the credit to Portland.”
Despite NYCFC enjoying a 78 percent possession advantage, the Timbers grabbed a 2-0 halftime lead.
Sebastian Blanco, who wasted two close encounters in the early going, put the hosts on the scoreboard as he headed home a feed by former Cosmos midfielder Andres Flores in the 26th minute. Blanco at the far left post and blooped a header that goalkeeper Sean Johnson and center back Alex Callens allowed to sneak into the upper right corner.
Adi doubled the margin in the 38th minute as he tapped in a low cross that went off the fingers of Johnson at the far left post.
Portland gave itself an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the 66th minute as Larrys Mabiala headed home a Diego Valeri corner kick from seven yards.
26’ – POR – Sebastian Blanco (Assisted by: Andres Flores, Alvas Powell)
38’ – POR – Fanendo Adi
66’ – POR – Larrys Mabiala (Assisted by: Diego Valeri)
63’ – NYC – Alexander Ring (YC – Unsporting Behavior)
92’ – NYC – Alexander Callens (YC – Unsporting Behavior)
Portland Timbers: Jeff Attinella; Zarek Valentin, Liam Ridgewell, Larrys Mabiala, Alvas Powell; Sebastian Blanco, Diego Chara, Cristhian Paredes, Andres Flores (94’ Dairon Asprilla); Diego Valeri (78’ Andy Polo), Fanendo Adi (85’ Samuel Armenteros)
SUBS UNUSED: Julio Cascante, Lawrence Olum, Marco Farfan, Jake Gleeson
New York City FC: Sean Johnson; Ronald Matarrita (70’ Tommy McNamara), Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot, Anton Tinnerholm; Ebenezer Ofori (79’ Yangel Herrera), Alexander Ring, Maxi Moralez; Jo Inge Berget, David Villa, Rodney Wallace (61’ Jesus Medina)
SUBS UNUSED: Brad Stuver, Ben Sweat, Sebastien Ibeagha, Saad Abdul-Salaam
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