PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kalif Alhassan opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time, Portland added three goals in the last 10 minutes, and backup goalkeeper Milos Kocic stepped in to earn the shutout as the Timbers beat Toronto FC 4-0 on Saturday night.
Rodney Wallace, Will Johnson and Diego Valeri all scored in the late flurry to help Portland (10-5-12) remain tied with Colorado for fourth place in the Western Conference.
“We want to keep being very business-like, very professional with our approach. We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves,” Portland head coach Caleb Porter said. “We’re going to focus on the next game, that’s Chivas. We’re not going to worry about the other games.”
The four-goal margin of victory was Portland’s largest since joining MLS in 2011.
Toronto (4-13-10) remained 17 points out of a playoff spot.
With both teams having a few opportunities in the first half, the deadlock was broken at the very end of the 45 minutes. Portland’s free kick from the left wing knocked around the Toronto penalty area until it found its way to Alhassan at the top of the box, where he chested the ball down and sent a shot into the upper corner of the net.
Toronto had some chances to tie the score in the second half, with Andrew Wiedeman having the best opportunity in the 65th minute. With the ball rolling toward the Portland goal and Wiedeman sneaking behind the defense, Kocic was forced to run off the goal line and make a sprawling save to preserve the lead.
The Timbers then scored late and often to ensure the victory.
First, substitute Valeri capitalized on a turnover by the Toronto defense, setting up Wallace to slide a shot under Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik in the 83rd minute remaining. Then, Timbers captain Johnson, in his first match after missing four with a shoulder injury, knocked Jose Adolfo Valencia’s pass from across the penalty area into the net in the 87th. Finally, at the end of second half stoppage time, Valencia provided a similar pass for Valeri to guide into goal.
For Johnson, it was a welcome return to the field.
“It’s always good to get back out there with the guys,” he said. “When we get a result like that, it’s fun to play.”
Porter was just as happy to have his captain back.
“His leadership, his intensity, his passion, it’s infectious to the rest of the group,” Porter said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.