ORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Having become the target of Portland Timbers fans’ frustration, Fanendo Adi found a way to get back in their good graces.
Adi scored two late goals and the Timbers beat the New England Revolution 2-0 on Saturday night for their first three-game winning streak since joining MLS in 2011.
Adi scored a header off of Jorge Villafana’s free kick in the 86th minute, then stretched to knock Alvas Powell’s cross past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth 3 minutes later to seal the victory.
A starter in 10 of the first 14 games, Adi has been on the bench at the beginning of the last three. A cold streak of one goal in the last 10 games has seen the forward lose his starting position to Maximiliano Urruti.
But Adi wasn’t going to let coming off the bench stop him.
“That’s just about concentration and being focused. Sometimes you can play from the bench, but if you’re not concentrating, you look stupid,” said Adi. “Today, I’m happy I could come off the bench and give the maximum support to the team.”
Two goals in four minutes will give head coach Caleb Porter something to think about before Portland’s next game.
“The competition within this team now has never been better,” said Porter. “Our training sessions have never been better, in terms of the fight. Guys are competing for jobs.”
New England frustrated Portland for much of the night, with Bobby Shuttleworth making some outstanding saves. The best came in the 74th minute, when Adi’s header found Maximilliano Urruti for a driving header, but Shuttleworth dove to punch the ball clear. Shuttleworth finished with three saves.
Portland’s Adam Kwarasey had a much quieter night for his sixth shutout. New England’s best opportunity came in the first half, courtesy of Kelyn Rowe. A shot by the midfielder crossed up the Timbers goalkeeper, who tried to grab the shot, but saw the ball bounce off his hands and spin out for a corner kick.
The two-goal effort gives Adi six for the season, leading the team. It also marks the sixth time he has scored two goals in a game since joining Portland in 2014.
Portland (6-5-4) moved into fourth place in the Western Conference.
“I thought it was our best performance of the year, start to finish, on both sides of the ball,” said Porter. “When things don’t come easy and you have to come through adversity, and you don’t unravel with it, you get stronger with it. That’s what this group has done.”
On the other end, New England (5-4-6) has a six-game winless. The Revolution are second in the Eastern Conference.
“In the end, it wasn’t our best game overall,” said New England head coach Jay Heaps. “I thought our fight and our commitment was really good. But in the end, just too many guys didn’t have their stuff tonight, and it hurt us.”
The Timbers lost Dairon Asprilla to an apparent leg injury in the 65th minute, with the midfielder taken off on a stretcher. Porter said he thinks it’s a sprained ankle but doesn’t know how serious it is.
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