The Portland Timbers grabbed a quarterfinal berth in the MLS is Back Tournament by recording a 4-2 edge in penalty kicks after battling to a 1-1 draw with FC Cincinnati on Tuesday in their Round of 16 match near Orlando.
The Timbers converted all four of their penalty kicks, and goalkeeper Steve Clark atoned for a mental miscue by making a diving save on Jurgen Locadia in the third round. FC Cincinnati's Kendall Waston shot high in the next round, and Portland's Jaroslav Niezgoda converted to end the match.
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Niezgoda scored in the 67th minute and Clark finished with four saves for the Timbers, who avenged a 3-0 setback to FC Cincinnati in the teams' only other meeting on March 17, 2019.
With Portland nursing a 1-0 lead late in the second half, Clark inexplicably attempted to play the ball with his feet before ultimately fouling Locadia in the penalty box. Locadia made Clark pay for his mental miscue by sending the penalty kick inside the left post in the 81st minute for his second goal of the season.
Locadia, however, was unable to take advantage of a golden opportunity just six minutes later, as he misfired on an open net from close range.
FC Cincinnati nearly opened the scoring in the 61st minute after Mathieu Deplagne deflected home a long cross by Haris Medunjanin. Video review, however, revealed that Deplagne was offside.
The Timbers responded in short order, with Sebastian Blanco exploiting a defensive lapse to move up along the goal line before his centering feed was converted by Niezgoda. The goal was the second in as many matches for Niezgoda, who scored his first in MLS during a 2-2 draw with LAFC on Thursday.