KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark made up for his mistake late in the second half with a key save in the penalty shootout, and the Timbers advanced past FC Cincinnati into the quarterfinals of the MLS is Back tournament on Tuesday night.
Portland beat Cincinnati 4-2 in the shootout after the sides played to a 1-1 draw in regulation.
Clark's blunder led to a penalty and Cincinnati's tying goal in the 81st minute from Jürgen Locadia. But in the penalty shootout, Clark smothered Locadia's attempt in the third round to give the Timbers the advantage.
Cincinnati's Kendall Waston hit his shot over the crossbar in the fourth round and Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored to close out the victory.
Diego Valeri, Felipe Mora and Sebastian Blanco also scored in the shootout for Portland. The Timbers became the fifth Western Conference team to reach the final eight of the tournament and will face New York City FC in the quarterfinals on Saturday night.
Niezgoda gave Portland a 1-0 lead with his goal in the 67th minute. Blanco found Niezgoda open in the middle of the penalty area. Niezgoda controlled the pass with his right foot and poked the shot with his left past Cincinnati goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton. It was the first goal allowed by Cincinnati since the opening match of the tournament.
Portland's goal came only a few minutes after Cincinnati appeared to take the lead. Mathieu Deplagne's goal off a free kick was disallowed after video review determined Deplagne was offside.
But Clark's mistake gave Cincinnati a chance. Rather than picking up a loose Cincinnati pass, Clark attempted to play it with his feet. The ball bounced too far away and he clipped Allan Cruz while diving for the ball. Locadia converted the penalty to pull Cincinnati even.
Clark nearly gifted another goal five minutes later when he mishandled Siem De Jong's shot from distance. But Locadia made an equally awful mistake in the 88th minute when he missed a wide-open attempt from inside the 6-yard box, sending his shot over the crossbar.
Minnesota reaches quarters of MLS tourney beating Columbus
Tyler Miller made a key save in the third round of the penalty shootout, Chase Gasper scored the winning shot in the fifth round and Minnesota United advanced past the Columbus Crew in the MLS is Back tournament Tuesday night.
Minnesota and Columbus played to a 1-1 draw in regulation, but the Loons were a perfect 5-for-5 in the shootout and Miller came up with the one big save needed.
Minnesota United will face San Jose in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Saturday.
"I think we've played our way into the tournament. And I think we've got progressively better, every game. And we had to be better tonight, we played a really good team," Minnesota coach Adrian Heath said.
Osvaldo Alonso, Jan Gregus, Aaron Schoenfeld and Raheem Edwards scored for Minnesota in the shootout before Gasper's clinching goal.
Columbus was without Gyasi Zardes and Darlington Nagbe for the shootout after they were subbed out earlier in the match. Miller guessed correctly on Chris Cadden's attempt in the third round, diving to his right and giving Minnesota the advantage.
It was Miller's second save of the match from the penalty spot. He denied Zardes in the 79th minute with a terrific diving save, but the rebound bounced right back to Zardes and he scored into the open net to pull the Crew even. The penalty came after a careless challenge by Jose Aja in the penalty area. Aja was late and clipped the foot of Derrick Etienne Jr., giving the Crew a clear penalty kick.
But the rebound off the saved penalty was the only great scoring chance for Columbus as the Crew struggled to break down the Minnesota defense all night.
Robin Lod scored in the 17th minute to give Minnesota the early advantage and the Loons nearly made it stand up for the entire match. It was the first goal allowed by Columbus during the Florida tournament and just the second surrendered all season.
"It's been just a matter of time to get on the scoresheet," said Lod, who scored his first goal of the tournament. "Of course it's nice that it came at this point and brings some more confidence for sure."
Columbus was viewed as a favorite after a dominant performance in the group stage as the only team to win all three group matches in the tournament. The Crew had convincing wins over FC Cincinnati and the New York Red Bulls before capping the group stage with a 1-0 win over Atlanta United.
“We leave here with our heads high,” Columbus coach Caleb Porter said. “You can’t take away what this group has done in those first three games.”