Columbus Crew SC midfielder Niko Hansen tallied his first career brace, but the effort proved too late against the test of time as the Portland Timbers rode three goals in the span of 30 minutes en route to a 3-2 victory over Columbus on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at Providence Park.
Crew SC (12-9-8) had successive chances early and eventually broke through in the seventh minute. Midfielder Pedro Santos found defender Milton Valenzuela in a textbook passing chain before Hansen, who sprinted into the six-yard box, buried the ball inside the far post for a quick 1-0 advantage.
The tally tied for the Club's fastest opening road goal this season, with Santos earning his seventh assist of the year and Valenzuela his fourth. Notably, three of Hansen's four career MLS goals have come against the Timbers.
Later on, Portland (13-8-8) secured the lead with goals from David Guzman and Andy Polo in the 18th and 37th minutes, respectively, before an own goal off a Lalas Abubakar deflection granted the Timbers a 3-1 lead in the 48th minute.
Crew SC's Connor Maloney earned his first Major League Soccer regular-season appearance of the season as one of three subs in the 62nd minute and eventually made a direct impact with the primary assist on a 92nd-minute goal from Hansen. The goal marked Hansen's first career MLS brace, but it proved to be a consolation tally as the final whistle blew following the restart.
On the night, Crew SC outshot the Timbers 16-12 overall, including an 8-2 edge in shots on target. Portland remains unbeaten against Eastern Conference opponents at home this season (8-0-5) while Crew SC returns home with one point following a two-match road trip.
Crew SC currently stands in fourth place in the East with 44 points, five behind third-place New York City FC.
Up next, the Black & Gold prepare to host the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, Sept. 22 at MAPFRE Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
- Milton Valenzuela made his 25th MLS regular-season appearance in tonight’s match against the Portland Timbers. In addition, the Argentine recorded an assist on Niko Hansen’s seventh-minute goal. The helper came when Valenzuela received a pass from Pedro Santos, and he sent a cross to the middle of the box for Hansen to give Crew SC a 1-0 lead. This season, Valenzuela has made 24 regular-season starts for Crew SC, tallying one goal and two assists.
- Niko Hansen recorded a brace in tonight’s match against the Portland Timbers. The first goal came in the seventh minute when the midfielder received a cross from Milton Valenzuela and sent the ball past Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark. The goal tied Crew SC’s fastest road goal of the 2018 MLS regular season along with Jonathan Mensah’s seventh-minute header against the New York Red Bulls on July 28. The second goal against Portland came in second-half stoppage time as Hansen’s headed a Connor-Maloney cross into the back of the net. The strikes are Hansen’s third goals in his last three appearances, as he previously scored a goal against the Chicago Fire on August 23 at Toyota Park. This season, Hansen has made 17 regular-season appearances (nine starts) notching three goals and two assists. Since making his MLS debut for Crew SC in 2017, he has made 31 regular-season appearances (12 starts), tallying four goals and four assists.
- Pedro Santos recorded an assist in tonight’s match against the Portland Timbers. The assist came on Niko Hansen’s seventh-minute goal as the Portuguese midfielder passed the ball to Milton Valenzuela, who sent a cross into the box for Hansen. This season, Santos has scored one goal and provided seven assists in 25 regular-season appearance (all starts). Since joining the club in 2017, Santos has made 34 regular-season appearances (33 starts), registering one goal and nine assists for the Black & Gold.
- Connor Maloney made his 2018 MLS regular-season debut in tonight’s match against the Portland Timbers. He also recorded an assist on Niko Hansen’s goal in second-half stoppage time. The helper came when Maloney received a ball from Eduardo Sosa, and he sent in a cross for Hansen. Prior to tonight, Maloney made two appearances (one start) in 2017 for Crew SC, providing one assist.
- Eduardo Sosa recorded an assist in tonight’s match against the Portland Timbers. The assist came on Niko Hansen’s second-half stoppage time goal. The Venezuelan midfielder passed the ball to Connor Maloney, who crossed it to Hansen for the score. Sosa is playing in his first MLS season for Crew SC, and he has made eight regular-season appearances (three starts) and provided one goal to go with the assist tonight.
- With tonight’s 3-2 loss at the Portland Timbers, Crew SC’s record on the season moves to 12-9-8. Next up, Crew SC takes on the Colorado Rapids at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET.