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MLS News: Aljaz Ivacic shines as Timbers shut out scuffling Loons


Dairon Asprilla scored in the 61st minute and Aljaz Ivacic made five saves as the Portland Timbers extended their winning streak to four games with a 1-0 victory over visiting Minnesota United on Saturday night.

It was the sixth shutout of the season for Ivacic.

The win propelled the Timbers (11-8-12, 45 points) into fifth place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Loons (13-12-5, 44 points), who suffered their third straight loss.

Minnesota United dominated the first half despite playing without leading scorer and All-Star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso (10 goals, nine assists), who sat out with a right ankle injury. They also played without midfielder Franco Fragapane (six goals), who was suspended because of a red card. Still, the Loons outshot the Timbers, 13-2, including 2-0 in shots on goal.

But Ivacic was up to the challenge. He turned away forward Mender Garcia’s left-footed shot from the middle of the box in the 10th minute off a D.J. Taylor cross. He later stopped a right-footed shot by Garcia from the right side of the box seven minutes later.

Portland entered the contest with 35 second-half goals, third most in the MLS. True to form, the Timbers took the lead in the 61st minute on Asprilla’s snap-header from the right edge of the six-yard box inside the far post off a Santiago Moreno corner kick.

It was Asprilla’s eighth goal of the season and his third in the last five goals. It was also Portland’s 23rd set-piece goal of the season.

Minnesota had a chance to tie it in the 65th minute but Ivacic tipped away Wil Trapp’s right-footed close-in try. Luis Amarilla then booted a Garcia cross over the crossbar in the 83rd minute.

Ivacic also blocked Robin Lod’s sharp-angle shot from the right side of the box in the 85th minute, the Loons’ final good scoring chance in the contest.

–Field Level Media










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