Cavallini scores winner as Whitecaps beat Timbers in season opener

Vancouver Whitecaps players celebrate their victory over the Portland Timbers following their MLS soccer game, Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Sandy, Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

SANDY, Utah — Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos dedicated the team's season-opening victory to all the fans back in Vancouver who could not be in attendance.

The Whitecaps kicked off the new Major League Soccer season and 2021 Cascadia Cup with a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers.

It was technically a home game for Vancouver, which scheduled its home games at Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto Stadium through at least the end of June.

``I really want this win 1/8for 3/8 the Vancouver fans and everybody that is home, not being able to be at a stadium, not being able to be with us,'' said Dos Santos. ``When you play Portland and you win, you can only remember all the fans in Vancouver.

``That one is for them.''

After Andy Rose nearly scored in the 48th minute for Vancouver, Cristian Gutierrez sent the resulting corner to the far post and the unmarked Lucas Cavallini headed it home for the Whitecaps in the 49th.

``As a striker, scoring goals always boosts your confidence,'' said Cavallini. ``But not only that, just the extra shifts, putting in the work for the boys, the pressure, not making them attack our lines easily. The goal was extra but our effort today was outstanding.''

Diego Chara created the Timbers' best scoring chance in the 89th minute with a pass from midfield that connected with Felipe Mora in the 18-yard box. But goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau deflected Mora's shot over the crossbar to help preserve the win for Vancouver.

``Max is a 'keeper with a lot of quality,'' said Dos Santos of the Quebec-born Crepeau.

Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark left the game in the 78th minute due to an apparent injury. No additional information has been released.

The Cascadia Cup is between the Timbers, Seattle Sounders, and Vancouver and is awarded each season to the best soccer team in the Pacific Northwest.

When submitting content, please abide by our  submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.
We use cookies to improve your experience. Learn More or change your cookie preferences. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies.