Vadim's late goal salvages tie with Whitecaps

June 13, 2001
at PGE Park, Portland, Oregon

73' - Vancouver: Terry St. Louis (Chris Craveiro)
90' - Portland: Vadim Tolstolutsky

Late in stoppage time, Vadim Tolstolutsky rocketed in a failed Whitecaps clearance from 25 yards to tie the score, and neither team was able to score as the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday at PGE Park in front of 4,077 fans. The lone Vancouver goal was by Terry St. Louis in the 73rd minute..

The Whitecaps had been involved in low scoring matches all year, scoring four goals and giving up four also in their first six matches, and early on, it was obvious why. The Whitecaps played a style of offense based on slow build-up, similar to the style the Thunder had played in Portland last week. But their defense also forced the Timbers into a similar style of play, and there were very few scoring chances for either team during the entire match.

Brent Sancho guarding Chris Craveiro

The Timbers had the first few good chances of the match, though neither one produced a serious threat to score. In the 5th minute, Michael O'Neill found himself on a breakaway from about 25 yards out with only one defender to beat, but his attempt to play the ball around the defender was blocked by the Vancouver defender and cleared. Three minutes later, a header from the left side found Gavin Wilkinson about 10 yards out, but his header had no pace and was easily saved. A minute later, a header from Kevin Holiness to Chris Craveiro found him in alone on Timbers goalkeeper Matt Napoleon, but the keeper went low and was able to smother the ball and end the scoring threat..

In the 13th minute, the Timbers appeared ready to take the lead when defenderJeff Clarke played a ball from midfield that found Darren Sawatzky about 25 yards out with only one man to beat. He spun to his left and lost the defender, but his attempted shot from 15 yards went about a yard high. In the 26th minute, the Whitecaps threatened with Holiness made a run from the right side and shot low from 15 yards out at an extreme angle, a shot that Napoleon deflected back to Holiness. The Vancouver midfielder then attempted to chip a pass across the goalmouth, but Napoleon leapt to tip the attempted pass over the crossbar. Five minutes later, the Whitecaps once again had a good scoring chance when Craveiro's through ball found Alfredo Valente with an open chance from 15 yards, but he held the ball for a second, allowing a Timbers defender the time to get to the ball as he shot, deflecting the shot wide. Neither team threatened again and the half ended scoreless.

A few seconds after the first picture, Sancho clears

In the second half, it was more of the same, with very few scoring opportunities. The first serious threat to score didn't come until the 74th minute, when a brief moment of confusion and indecision lead to a goal. A high ball was played from near midfield by Craveiro to Terry St. Louis, who had just entered the match five minutes earlier. The ball bounced high, and there seemed to be confusion between Timbers defender Brent Sancho and Napoleon as to who would be able to play the ball first. The outcome was that St. Louis slid behind Sancho, protected the ball from the Timbers defender, then slid the ball between Napoleon's legs as he charged out, putting the ball into the net and giving the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead.

Now trailing, the Timbers offense finally opened up, and they began getting more chances on net. In the 80th minute, second half substitute Vadim Tolstolutsky played a cross from the right side that got to the far post, but there were no Timbers there to finish and the ball was harmlessly cleared. In the 83rd minute, a Clarke cross from the right side was headed for Sawatzky, who was making a run to the near post, but Sawatzky was taken down just before the ball arrived. But the referee called play on and the ball was cleared.

A Vancouver shot goes wide, watched by Matt Napoleon

As play entered stoppage time (two minutes were added), the Timbers kept the ball in the attacking and eventually forced two consecutive corner kicks. The first one was too high and was cleared over the endline. The second one was into the box, but was cleared out to midfield. But Napoleon, the Timbers goalkeeper, had moved up to the midfield circle by this point, as there was probably less than 30 seconds left in the match, and he hit the ball in full stride, playing a volley to the right side, which Keith Costigan controlled and began a run down the right side. He played a cross into the center of the box, but there were no Timbers there to finish, and the ball was headed out by a Vancouver defender. But the header went right to Tolstolutsky, who was on a run and charging in, and the ball came directly to him and he hit a hard full volley from 25 yards out. The shot had alot of spin on it, and it curved dramatically to the right, and though Whitecaps goalkeeper Didar Sandhu got both hands on it, he was unable to control it, and it spit through his hands and into the net, tying the score just before the full time whistle, which came immediately after the restart.

Mark Baena protects the ball from Chris Franks

The two 10-minute overtime periods produced more good scoring chances than all of regulation. In the 93rd minute, it appeared briefly that the Whitecaps were about to win the match when St. Louis attempted a short cross from 15 yards out on the right side, but it was deflected by Costigan's leg, and the Timbers keeper fell onto his rear, totally out of position as he was moving out to play the cross. But as it happened, the ball came right to Napoleon, and he caught it, while sitting down on the turf five yards out from the goal. Four minutes later, the Whitecaps once again appeared poised to win the game when a corner kick was flicked on by Charles Gbeke to David Morris, who was only five yards out with much of the goal open, but his open shot went two yards wide left.

The Timbers had their best chance of the overtime in the 106th minute when a Tolstolutsky through ball found Sawatzky just eight yards out and with no defender near him. But Sawatzky's attempted shot to the near corner was deflected by Sandhu, who made a full dive for the body block. The ball stayed in bounds, and Sawatzky held the ball for about five seconds, looking for someone to cross to, but his attempted cross to Matt Chulis was intercepted and cleared. The Timbers made a final push forward with a one-man advantage after Vancouver's Gbeke was red-carded for an airborne tackle from behind on Portland's Brian Winters. But the Timbers were unable to capitalize, and both teams had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Michael O'Neill steals an attempted pass to Rick Titus
Shots: Timbers 9, Whitecaps 6
Saves: Timbers 2, Whitecaps 6
Fouls: Timbers 19, Whitecaps 32
Offsides: Timbers 0, Whitecaps 6
Corners: Timbers 8, Whitecaps 8

Timbers 1 (Napoleon 28' (yellow, pushing a Vancouver player))
Whitecaps 3 (Berg 29' (yellow, tackle from behind), Morris 104' (yellow, tackle from behind), Gbeke 118' (red, tackle from behind))

Portland: Matt Napoleon, Gavin Wilkinson, Brent Sancho (Neil Ryan 104'), Matt Chulis, Jeff Clarke (Jesus Ochoa 99'), Keith Costigan, Brian Winters, Michael O'Neill (Scott Benedetti 58'), Kevin Legg (Vadim Tolstolutsky 46'), Darren Sawatzky, Mark Baena
Vancouver: Didar Sandhu, Chris Franks, Nico Berg, Geordie Lyall, Kevin Holness, Rick Titus, Oliver Heald, Jeff Skinner, Alfredo Valente (David Morris 63'), Dana Garner (Terry St. Louis 69'), Chris Craveiro (Charles Gbeke 86')
Matt Chulis and Chris Craveiro

I apologize for the poor quality of the pics. An experiment with new film left most of them very dark

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