Jaroslaw Niezgoda came off the bench to lead in the 83rd minute and the Portland Timbers beat Inter Miami 1-0 on Sunday to extend their unbeaten streak to eight.
The Timbers (14-10-4) entered the game fourth in the Western Conference standings, five points behind the Colorado Rapids, who faced the Seattle Sounders on Sunday night.
“I don’t think we had our best asset tonight, but we dug it out,” said Portland goaltender Steve Clark.
This is the first time Inter Miami have visited Portland and it is the farthest Miami has come for a game since joining Major League Soccer last year.
Miami (9-13-5) started eight points below the playoff line in the East on Sunday. He has lost four games in a row.
“I thought the game was a type of grind game. But in the end, we defended very well, we are able to create very good moments offensively, ”said Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese. “And then we found a very important goal that gave us three points which are very crucial for our race to continue to focus on the playoffs.
Sebastian Blanco, who has been a spark for the Timbers since returning from ACL surgery, did not start but was available on the bench after leaving Wednesday’s 2-1 win over LAFC with a sore knee. He came on in the 67th minute.
Gonzalo Higuain’s low shot to the left corner in the 50th minute for Miami was saved by Clark. Higuain leads Miami with 10 goals this season.
Portland’s Felipe Mora appeared to score in the 58th minute but the Timbers were offside.
Moments after Niezgoda’s goal on a Blanco cross, Julian Carranza appeared to score an equalizer for Miami but he was whistled for a push to the head.
Miami coach Phil Neville was furious after the game, claiming his team had a goal stolen.
“At the end of the day, I have to fight and defend my team and my football club, and in the end we were stolen points today because of a bad decision by the referee, it’s not that ‘just one,’ Neville said. “I have seen it time and time again. I’m frustrated, a little emotional, I’m sure. ”
The atmosphere of the game was somewhat muffled after two former Portland Thorns players made allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against North Carolina coach Raul Riley, former Thorns coach. The women went public in an article published Thursday by The Athletic.
Riley was immediately sacked by Courage, and FIFA and US Soccer opened investigations into why he was able to remain a coach even after players raised concerns with the league. The NWSL canceled games this weekend on Friday and Commissioner Lisa Baird resigned.
The owners of the Timbers also own the Thorns. Portland MLS players released a statement signed by the team in solidarity with NWSL players. Fans of both teams gathered outside Providence Park on Saturday night.
Many members of the Timbers Army supporter group wore red on Sunday to honor the Thorns. A large banner stating “Believe, Support and Protect the NWSL Players” was hung behind the north goal and fans dropped red and black smoke bombs in the 25th minute.