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All good things must come to an end.
The Portland Timbers longest-ever run in the CONCACAF Champions League ended in the quarterfinals, as the Timbers lost 3-1 at Estadio Azteca Wednesday evening, falling 4-2 on aggregate.
"“We knew it was going to be a difficult game," said head coach Giovanni Savarese after the loss. "t's unfortunate. We really believe in ourselves and now we have to continue to work. It was a tough game and I think both teams put up a good fight to go through.”
Portland entered the match tied 1-1 with a chance to win the series via away goals advantage but scored just once when Diego Vaelri converted a penalty kick into a goal in the 64th minute.
That goal, which was awarded by the referee despite minimal (if any) contact to Felipe Mora inside the eighteen, got the Timbers one goal away from winning the series with 25 minutes remaining.
However, Portland would allow Club Amèrica to respond in a matter of minutes, taking a 3-1 lead during the 70th minute on a long strike from Leo Suàrez.
After the game, Valeri said the altitude of the stadium took some adjusting for the Timbers.
"It's totally different," said Valeri. "The ball, on the air looks a little bit quicker...which was a huge thing overall in the game."
Despite the loss, the Timbers are optimistc it has the team to compete in the MLS and these two games against Club Amèrica proved just that.
“I think everyone that has seen the way we competed against a good team like Club América is going to know that we have a team that has the belief in achieving important things," said Savarese. "A team that has an identity and a style of play that tries to maintain in matches like this and that is going to fight through all the time even if you play against teams like Club América. We knew it was going to be difficult, but we have a belief in ourselves and I think what we have to do now is have a good reflection of these two games and continue to move forward.”
That doesn 't mean there are not frsutrations and players questioning what could have happened if the Timbers concerted some of the many missed opportunties inside the attacking third.
"I was very frustrated," explained Valeri. "I was was wishing to make the final in this CONCACAF. It was very important for me. When the final whistle blew, being honest, I was very frustrated. I was sad. But at the end, you know, this is soccer and we gave it all. We fought until the end. We competed against a big team and that's it.
"Soccer is about that."
Portland will host the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, May 9th at Providence Park.