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Fanendo Adi Bang Brace

Super Eagles Striker Fanendo Adi was on target twice for Portland Timbers in the opening match of new MLS season. The striker hit the back of the net twice in additional time to complete an emphatic 5-1 victory over Atlanta United on Friday. Lawrence Olum scored the first goal of the 2017 MLS season as the Timbers (1-0-0, 3 points) offense put on a show in their regular season debut, thrashing expansion side Minnesota United (0-1-0, 0 points) 5-1 in front of 21,144 fans at Providence Park. This is the second year in a row that the Timbers have opened the MLS season with a win and the dominance of this year's performance -- even if it was against an expansion team playing in its first game -- was particularly noteworthy. While Olum netted the first goal of the night, it was playmaker Diego Valeri and forward Fanendo Adi that put the game out of reach in the second half with two goals apiece. But what was most exciting about the offensive production was that it wasn't solely from Valeri and Adi, who combined for 30 goals and nine assists in 2016. Olum, who the Timbers acquired from Sporting Kansas City in February, put Portland on the board first and Vytas, Sebastian Blanco and
Darlington Nagbe all recorded assists in the game to lead the Timbers to the dominant win.

"It's good to get it from different guys," Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. "We're still going to always get probably the lion's share from Adi and Valeri, but we need more goals and assists from the wingers and we're getting those assists."

Olum scored in the 14th minute when he got to a ball in front of goal after Vytas headed on a free kick from Valeri. Olum stuck his foot out and watched as his shot floated up and over Minnesota goalkeeper John Alvbage before dropping into the net to give Portland a 1-0 lead. The goal gave the Timbers a cushion heading into halftime and Valeri quickly extended Portland's lead in the second half, heading-home a cross from Blanco in the 47th minute. It was the first time that Valeri had scored on a header in an MLS regular season game.

But Minnesota got themselves back into the match in the 79th minute with a goal from Christian Ramirez, who became the first goal scorer in the Loons' MLS history.
"I do think it was a closer game than 5-1," Porter said. "That's what I said to the guys, we have to, at 2-0, go for the jugular and make it three and put the game away."
While Minnesota closed the gap in the second half, they only briefly remained within striking distance of Portland.

Valeri converted a penalty kick in the 82nd minute after Adi was taken down in the box. Adi then got on the end of a pass from Nagbe in the 91st minute and made several deft touches to find an opening before scoring. A minute later, Adi dribbled around a Minnesota defender and fired a shot into the top of the net to give the Timbers a 5-1 lead as the crowd chanted his name. "This group, when they want to score and they want to play aggressive, they're scary," Porter said.

Photo credit : Portland timbers

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