Portland Timbers' Diego Valeri (left) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal n a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match against visiting Dragon on August 3, 2016. (Photo: Mexsport)
PORTLAND, Oregon – Diego Valeri followed his own shot off the woodwork to score the game-winner in the 90th minute and lift the Portland Timbers to a 2-1 win over visiting Dragon to open Group B play in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League at Providence Park on Wednesday night.
Valeri latched onto a back post cross by Jack Jewsbury and headed against the crossbar. An attempted clearance by Dragon defender Marcelo Posadas went to Valeri, whose second shot slipped just over the goal line for the dramatic winner.
The Timbers improved to 3W-0D-0L in SCCL home games, while the 2016 Salvadoran Clausura champion was making its tournament debut.
Jack McInerney gave Portland a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute with his fourth career SCCL goal. A well-worked throw-in play from the right side resulted in Valeri guiding a ball towards the left post for McInerney to slot home from four-yards out.
Dragon rallied to equalize in the 76th minute on a goal by Kenroy Howell, who latched onto a Jamal Jack cross and bounced a downward header past Portland goalkeeper Jack Gleeson from eight yards.
Five minutes into the second half, Fanendo Adi thought he had the Timbers’ second goal, but the assistant referee’s flag was raised for offside.
Before Howell’s goal, Dragon had two dangerous chances. Howell put a looping header onto the top netting midway through the first half and Jack headed off the bar seven minutes after the break.
Group B returns to action on August 18 with a meeting Saprissa and host Dragon