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2019 Major League Soccer, Regular Season
  • Jorge Moreira (11')
  • Brian Fernandez (21', 88')
  • Nemanja Nikolic (74')
  • C.J. Sapong (90'+2')
  • Aleksandar Katai (30')

Timbers topple Fire, climb into playoff position

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Jorge Moreira loops in Portland's opening goal (1:04)

Major League Soccer: Jorge Moreira (11') Portland Timbers 1-0 Chicago Fire. To watch more MLS, sign up for ESPN+. (1:04)

Brian Fernandez scored his team-leading ninth and 10th goals of the season, and the Portland Timbers picked up an important 3-2 win over the visiting Chicago Fire on Wednesday night.

Fernandez raised his goal total across all competitions to 14, accomplished in the three months since he's been with the Timbers. Portland (11-9-4, 37 points) has lost just once in the past nine league matches and surged into playoff position, seventh place in the Western Conference, passing FC Dallas on Wednesday.

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The Fire (7-11-9, 30 points) came in having won two straight and were in need of a win to boost their slim playoff chances, but they fell despite scoring twice in the second half with a one-man disadvantage. Chicago is 10th in the Eastern Conference, three points from the last playoff position.

Jorge Moreira gave the Timbers a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute, chipping the ball over the defense and Fire goalkeeper David Ousted, who had come out to challenge a hustling Marvin Loria on the attack. Loria was upended, but the loose ball came to Moreira for the goal.

In the 21st minute, the Timbers struck again. A cross from 21-year-old midfielder Cristhian Paredes hit Fernandez in the legs, but Fernandez got enough ball to nudge it past Ousted.

The Fire's night then got more difficult. They were forced to play with 10 men for 60-plus Portland after Aleksandar Katai was issued a red card for a high elbow on Timbers defender Julio Cascante.

The Timbers lost arguably their best defender when Larrys Mabiala went down with a leg injury and exited in the 35th minute.

The Fire made it 2-1 when Nemanja Nikolic headed in a loose ball off a set piece in the 74th minute. But Fernandez scored in the 88th, and the Timbers appeared headed for a comfortable victory.

They had to hold on for the last two minutes of stoppage time after C.J. Sapong headed in a Przemyslaw Frankowski cross in the 92nd minute. Sapong raised his team-high goal total to 10.

The Timbers are undefeated in 10 all-time meetings with the Fire, producing five wins and five draws.

Major League Soccer Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 New York City FC 30 +19 57
2 Philadelphia Union 30 +12 52
3 Atlanta United FC 29 +12 48
4 Toronto FC 31 +4 45
5 DC United 31 +2 45
6 New York Red Bulls 30 +1 41
7 New England Revolution 30 -7 40
8 Montreal Impact 31 -15 37
9 Chicago Fire 31 +5 37
10 Orlando City SC 31 -4 36
11 Columbus Crew SC 31 -9 34
12 FC Cincinnati 30 -42 21

Major League Soccer Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 LAFC 30 +44 64
2 Seattle Sounders FC 30 +3 49
3 Minnesota United FC 30 +9 48
4 Real Salt Lake 30 +4 46
5 LA Galaxy 30 0 45
6 San Jose Earthquakes 30 +3 44
7 Portland Timbers 29 +3 43
8 FC Dallas 30 +5 43
9 Sporting Kansas City 30 -10 37
10 Colorado Rapids 31 -7 36
11 Houston Dynamo 30 -10 34
12 Vancouver Whitecaps 31 -22 30