PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)Denis Bouanga scored his first Major League Soccer goal in stoppage time and LAFC clinched the Supporters Shield with a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers on Sunday.
LAFC (21-8-4) had already earned the top seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye with the best record in the league. It is LAFC’s second Supporters Shield in four years.
”We envisioned making the playoffs this year, but certainly this was beyond our expectations,” LAFC coach Steven Cherundolo said.
The Timbers (11-9-13) will still need to win or draw their final match at Real Salt Lake next weekend on Decision Day to determine if they will have a spot in the playoffs. Portland is currently in sixth in the Western Conference standings, above the playoff line.
The Timbers were undefeated in their last five games going into the match, which was the final home game at Providence Park. Portland was undefeated in its previous nine there.
After a scoreless first half, Carlos Vela took a cross from Kellyn Acosta and blasted his goal from some 19 yards out in the 51st minute. It was Vela’s 12th goal of the season.
Dairon Asprilla pulled the Timbers even a header from the center of the box in the 81st minute. Video review determined that a late foul by Portland’s Claudio Bravo did not merit a LAFC penalty kick.
Bouanga, a designated player from France, secured the Shield with his goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
”Obviously it’s unfortunate, but we’re just going to move forward to the next game,” Bravo said.
With Portland’s loss, Nashville clinched a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
LAFC hosts Nashville next Sunday and Portland travels to RSL.
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