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Portland celebrates in the sun

Late goal by Blanco beats Seattle, scores fourth-straight win
Staff report

The hottest day of the year turned into the hottest ticket of the year, and the Portland Timbers didn't disappoint Sunday.

With a stellar connection between Samuel Armenteros and Sebastian Blanco and simple chip from 10 yards away to provide the scoring in the 86th minute, the Timbers won their fourth-consecutive game of the MLS Season, with three of them at Providence Park in front of the 21,444 screaming masses.

Blanco's goal was his team-leading fifth of the season, and made a positive memory of what was largely a bland meeting of the franchises for the 100th time, historically, through the NASL, USL and now MLS. The bitter rivals managed just 15 shots combined in the match, and only three were on target - each goalkeeper made just one save.

Jeff Attinella recorded his third-consecutive shutout for Portland.

Portland moved into a tie for fourth in the Western Converence at 14 points after having started the season with just two through five games. The Timbers are also one of four teams in the league without a loss at home, although only one has played fewer home games - DC United, which has played at home just twice in advance of opening a new stadium in two months.

The win was the first step in the Cascadia Cup, as well, between the teams.

Portland next plays host to FC Los Angeles, which is second in the West with 20 points and recently opened its own stadium near the Los Angeles Coliseum.

 

 

Thorns draw with Houston

Portland readies for home match against Orlando Saturday
Staff report

Forward Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic recorded her first goal of the season and helped the Portland Thorns earn a 1-all draw at Houston Wednesday night in NWSL action.

Portland improved to a tie for fourth place with the Orlando, which will play at Providence Park Satuday at 12:30 p.m. The game is set to be carried on Lifetime.

Crnogocevic's goal came in the 25th minute and was her first in the league since joining the team from Germany's FFC Frankfurt. At 27, she is the leading goal scorer for the Swiss national team and led her German side to the 2015 UEFA Champions League title.

Houston tied the match in the 57th minute. The Thorns dominated much of the match, holding possession of the ball for nearly 70 percent of the 90 minutes and attempting 541 passes - more than double those of the Dash. But, even with completing more than 80 percent of their passes, the team managed just four shots on goal.

Christine Sinclair recorded an assist on the lone Thorns goal, which was her 10th assist with the team.

 

Timbers ready for Sounders challenge

The 100th meeting between two of America's top rivals is Sunday
Staff report

It's a match for the ages set for Sunday at Providence Park: Timbers vs. Sounders.

The 100th meeting between the two clubs - starting in their NASL days - will begin at 1 p.m., with fans of the Seattle Sounders having been ushered in more than an hour ahead of Portland's army of fans.

Of course, Portland's diehard fanbase will have begun showing up at least two days prior in order to secure their treasured spots within the Army's section 107.

The match's historic nature spawned a video entitled "The Rivalry" that even got a response on Twitter from Ken Burns.

Both teams worked their way into the Major Lleague Soccer's history book in the recent past with Portland winning the MLS Cup in 2015 and Seattle winning the following year. This season, though, has been a challenge for both teams as the Timbers managed just two points through the opening five games - all on the road, and the Sounders managing just five points in its first seven games.

Sunday's match, though, will feature teams riding on optimism. The Sounders won their match Wednesday in Toronto against the league champion from last season, while the Timbers have won their past three games to move into a tie for sixth and just two points from third in the Western Conference.

 

Timbers, Thorns eye weekend goals

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Both teams play another round of road games - as doubleheader
Staff report

The Portland Timbers and Thorns are preparing for a rare event in professional sports these days - a doubleheader.

Both teams play in Chicago Saturday at Toyota Park, the home field for both the Fire and Red Stars. Saturdays matches are set for 3 p.m. for the Timbers and Fire, followed by the Thorns and Red Stars at 5:15.

It's the only doubleheader of the season, and first of its kind for both Portland teams.

The Timbers head into the match with a point after a 1-all tie at Dallas Saturday, a match in with the team saw its first red card of the season handed out to Lawrence Olum after a pair of yellows. The draw was the first season point for new coach Giovani Savarese.

The Thorns opened their season with a 1-0 loss at the North Carolina Courage, a match that saw goalkeeper Andriana French produce what turned into the Save of the Week via the NWSL website.

The Thorns have two weeks off after Saturday to prepare for their home opener, April 15.

The Timbers continue their season April 8 at Orlando City before returning for their home opener, April 14.

 

 

Beavers prep for Baylor rematch

4CAST: NCAA Tourney, Hawks, Timbers, Thorns, Pac-12
Staff report

The NCAA Tournament established game times for the Sweet 16 Tuesday, and Oregon State got a 4 p.m. slot against second-ranked Baylor in Lexington, Ky.

Oregon will play Central Michigan Saturday at 3 p.m. in Spokane, Wash.

Baylor is 33-1, while OSU is 25-7, but has a 3-0 record against the Bears all-time. The Beavers beat Baylor in 2016 to advance to the Final Four for the first time. It's the third-straight year OSU has reached the Sweet 16.

Oregon heads for the Sweet 16 for the second-straight year after advancing to the Elite 8 last year. The Ducks are 32-4, while Central Michigan is 30-4.

2. WINTERHAWKS HEADED FOR PLAYOFFS

The 72-game regular season came to a close with a 5-4 loss to Spokane Sunday for the Portland Winterhawks, but the season begins anew Saturday. Portland, which finished the regular season at 44-22-1-5 for 94 points, plays the Chiefs in a seven-game series with the first two games in Portland Saturday and Sunday.

The Hawks-Chiefs series is one of eight that starts the first round of the WHL Playoffs. The winner will advance to the Memorial Cup, which will be played for the 100th time this year.

3. TIMBERS/THORNS EYE LEAGUE PLAY

The Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers return to the pitch Saturday with league matches. The Thorns, who drew with Houston 0-0 Saturday at Merlo Field, open NWSL play at North Carolina Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Portland won its second NWSL title last season.

The Timbers, 0-2 in MLS action, play at Houston Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Portland has scored just once in its two games, and is looking for its first win under new coah Giovanni Savarese.

4. PAC-12 SOFTBALL, BASEBALL

In Pac-12 softball, Sixth-ranked Oregon is 25-5 heading for a weekend off before a three-game series with rival Oregon State March 29-31 in Corvallis.

Oregon State recovered from a 12-0 loss Saturday to beat Cal 8-3 Sunday and earn a 2-1 series win in Corvallis. Oregon State is 19-10 heading into a three-game series at UCLA Friday.

In Pac-12 baseball, top-ranked Oregon State is 18-1 on the year, matching the 1951, 1962, 2013 and 2017 teams for the best record through 19 games. OSU has won 13 consecutive Pac-12 games dating back to the 2016 season. The Beavers start a three-game series with Washington on Friday.
 
In other Pac-12 action, Oregon starts a three-game series with Cal starting Friday. Oregon is 8-2 at home this season.

Blazers look to next streak

After Houston loss, Portland has more key games ahead
Staff report

The win streak is over, but it certainly put the Portland Trail Blazers on the map of teams to watch for as possible title contenders.

Next up is Boston.

James Harden scored 42 points, including a pair of 3s down the stretch, and the Houston Rockets snapped the Blazers’ 13-game winning streak with a 115-111 victory on Tuesday night before a rowdy crowd at the Moda Center.

“They’re the No. 1 team in the league for a reason,” Portland’s Damian Lillard said afterward. “We’ve just got to make a few more plays and make a few more shots if we want to beat a team like that.”

Portland’s winning streak was tied for the second-longest in franchise history. The team also won 13 consecutive games in 2007.

Al-Farouq Aminu had 22 points, including six 3-pointers, for Portland. The Blazers had also won nine straight at the Moda Center before the loss.

Jusef Nurkic had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Lillard added 20 for the Blazers. But, Lillard’s backcourt mate C.J. McCollum had just six points on 4-of-15 shooting, and combined with Lillard to miss all 12 of their 3-point shots combined - easily their worst performance of the season.

And, yet, Portland lost by just four to drop to 44-27 overall.

Chris Paul added 22 points for the Rockets, who have won six straight and 23 of their last 24 and have the best record in the NBA at 57-17.

Boston is second in the Eastern Conference at 48-23, 4.5 games behind Toronto, which is 53-19.

 

Blazers begin stretch run

4CAST: NBA, NCAA Tourney, Winterhawks, MLS/NWSL
Staff report

The Portland Trail Blazers start the first of four consecutive games against teams at the top of the the Western Conference and Eastern Conference with the Houston Rockets tonight.

Houston leads the Western Conference and will take on the Blazers at the Moda Center at 7:30 p.m., a game set to be televised by TNT.

Portland, with a 13-game winning streak through Monday, then gets Boston - the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 team - on Friday.

They head to Oklahoma City Sunday and play at New Orleans next Monday.

With the win streak the Blazers vaulted into third place in the Western Conference and first place in the Northwest Division. The conference strength is significant this season as all eight playoff teams are at least nine games above .500. The Blazers have just 12 games to go in the regular season.

Oklahoma City is 43-29 and just two games behind Portland in the race for the division title, while New Orleans is 40-30 and tied for fifth place in the West with Utah. The Pelicans may be a first-round playoff opponent for Portland.

2.NCAA WOMEN'S TOURNEY

Central Michigan, and 11th seed in the NCAA Women's Tournament 11th, scored a huge upset of Ohio State Monday, and will get the University of Oregon in the Sweet 16 Saturday in Spokane, Wash. Oregon is 32-4 on the year, while Central Michigan is 30-4.

Oregon State, meanwhile, gets second-ranked Baylor on Friday. The game is set for Lexington, Ky., Friday. Baylor is 33-1, while OSU is 25-7 following its upset of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sunday.

The Pac-12 got two more teams into the Sweet 16 Monday - UCLA and Stanford, and has four teams in the Sweet 16.

3. WINTERHAWKS HEADED FOR PLAYOFFS

The 72-game regular season came to a close with a 5-4 loss to Spokane Sunday for the Portland Winterhawks, but the season begins anew Saturday. Portland, which finished the regular season at 44-22-1-5 for 94 points, plays the Chiefs in a seven-game series with the first two games in Portland Saturday and Sunday.

4. TIMBERS/THORNS EYE LEAGUE PLAY

The Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers return to the pitch Saturday with league matches. The Thorns, who drew with Houston 0-0 Saturday at Merlo Field, open NWSL play at North Carolina Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Portland won its second NWSL title last season.

The Timbers, 0-2 in MLS action, play at Houston Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Portland has scored just once in its two games, and is looking for its first win under new coah Giovanni Savarese.

ALSO

In Pac-12 softball, Sixth-ranked Oregon is 25-5 heading for a weekend off before a three-game series with rival Oregon State March 29-31 in Corvallis.

Oregon State recovered from a 12-0 loss Saturday to beat Cal 8-3 Sunday and earn a 2-1 series win in Corvallis. Oregon State is 19-10 heading into a three-game series at UCLA Friday.

In Pac-12 baseball, top-ranked Oregon State is 18-1 on the year, matching the 1951, 1962, 2013 and 2017 teams for the best record through 19 games. OSU has won 13 consecutive Pac-12 games dating back to the 2016 season. The Beavers start a three-game series with Washington on Friday.
 
In other Pac-12 action, Oregon starts a three-game series with Cal starting Friday. Oregon is 8-2 at home this season.

 

Stotts Coach of Year material?

Blazers coach has award rating on the line this week
Staff report

Has Terry Stotts elevated the Portland Trail Blazers enough to be voted Coach of the Year in 2018? Well, maybe, especially if the Blazers can do something like sweep the next four games and head to the NBA Playoffs on a huge roll.

That's a key part of this week's Sportsland, Oregon podcast featuring Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber.

The Blazers plays host to Houston - the Western Conference leader - Tuesday, then Boston - the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 team - on Friday. They head to Oklahoma City Sunday and play at New Orleans next Monday.

With the win streak the Blazers vaulted into third place in the Western Conference and first place in the Northwest Division. The conference strength is significant this season as all eight playoff teams are at least nine games above .500. The Blazers have just 12 games to go in the regular season.

Oklahoma City is 43-29 and just two games behind Portland in the race for the division title, while New Orleans is 40-30 and tied for fifth place in the West with Utah. The Pelicans may be a first-round playoff opponent for Portland.

Also, the podcast focuses on the NCAA Tournament, NFL free agency, Timbers and Thorns, Tiger Woods and the start of the 2018 International Roofball Federation schedule.

SPORTSLAND PODCAST

 

 

Ducks keep Eugene buzzing

4CAST: NCAA women, Pac-12 baseball, softball, Hawks, soccer
Staff report

The Oregon women’s basketball team moved to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the second straight year with a 101-73 win over Minnesota Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon will play either Central Michigan or Ohio State, which play today, Saturday with the winner facing either Notre Dame or Texas A&M next Monday in Spokane, Wash.

“I will be shocked if they’re not playing in the Final Four,” Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings said after watching the Ducks put up 30 points in two different quarters Sunday. “They were rolling on all cylinders.”

Sunday’s second-round game matched two of the top-10 scoring offenses in the nation, and the teams combined for 52 points in the first quarter. From there, though, Oregon - leading 30-22 after the first quarter, outscored the Gophers 52-28 in the next two quarters to effectively decide the outcome.

Oregon blew the game open with a 10-0 run to close out the second quarter, capped by a fadeaway three-pointer at the buzzer by Sabrina Ionescu, while she was being fouled.

Ionescu led all scorers with 29 points, while sophomore Ruthy Hebard added 22 for the Ducks - playing in front of a vocal crowd of 7,576 fans.

Oregon made 11 of its 22 3-point attempts.

The Ducks had never been to the Sweet 16 until last season, when they reached the Elite Eight.

2. PAC-12 BASEBALL

Michael Gretler homered in the second inning to spark the top-ranked Oregon State baseball team to a sweep of California Sunday as the Beavers won the series finale, 6-4, in Berkely, Calif.
 
The win pushed Oregon State to 18-1 on the year, matching the 1951, 1962, 2013 and 2017 teams for the best record through 19 games. The victory also sends the Beavers back to Corvallis with a 3-0 conference record; OSU has won 13 consecutive Pac-12 games dating back to the 2016 season.]
 
The sweep marked the Beavers’ third in Berkeley since 2012 after getting swept at Cal in 2016. OSU starts a three-game series with Washington on Friday.
 
In other Pac-12 action, Oregon lost all three games of its series against Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., to drop to 12-7. The Ducks return to Eugene for a three-game series with Cal starting Friday. Oregon is 8-2 at home this season.

3. PAC-12 SOFTBALL

Sixth-ranked Oregon rallied from a loss Friday to beat UCLA Saturday and Sunday and is 25-5 heading for a weekend off before a three-game series with rival Oregon State March 29-31 in Corvallis.

Oregon State recovered from a 12-0 loss Saturday to beat Cal 8-3 Sunday and earn a 2-1 series win in Corvallis. Oregon State won the first game of the series 10-5 Friday and is 19-10 heading into a three-game series at UCLA Friday.

4. WINTERHAWKS HEAD FOR PLAYOFFS

The 72-game regular season came to a close with a 5-4 loss to Spokane Sunday for the Portland Winterhawks, but the season begins anew Saturday. Portland, which finished the regular season at 44-22-1-5 for 94 points, plays the Chiefs in a seven-game series with the first two games in Portland Saturday and Sunday.

EXTENDED 4CAST

The Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers return to the pitch Saturday with league matches. The Thorns, who drew with Houston 0-0 Saturday at Merlo Field, open NWSL play at North Carolina Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Portland won its second NWSL title last season.

The Timbers, 0-2 in MLS action, play at Houston Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Portland has scored just once in its two games, and is looking for its first win under new coah Giovanni Savarese.

Blazers handle Cleveland/Lebron, 113-105

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Portland holds off rally, wins for the 11th straight game
Staff report

PORTLAND - First Golden State. Now, Cleveland.

Last year's NBA Finals teams have both lost in Portland within the last week, as the Trail Blazers continue to make themselves a player in the discussion of what teams are most likely to contend for the league title.

Portland built a 15-point lead, had it dwindle to three inside three minutes left, then pulled off a 113-105 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night at the Moda Center.

C.J. McCollum had 29 points and Damian Lillard had 24 points and nine assists. Lillard made all nine of his free-throw attempts.

LeBron James led the Cavs with 35 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, but missed a layup with 32 seconds to go when the Cavs were down by five.

The Cavs have now lost their last five games in Portland.

Portland improved to 42-26 overall.

Cleveland fell to 39-29.

McCollum made consecutive 3-pointers and Lillard made another that gave Portland an 81-66 lead midway through the third quarter. But, the Cavs got to 105-102 with 2:58 left, but managed just four shots the remainder of the game - making one 3-pointer.

 

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