Image: Portland Timbers defender Juan David Mosquera, left, pushes the ball past St. Louis City’s Celio Pompeu during an MLS soccer match Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Portland, Ore. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kyle Hiebert scored the go-ahead goal in the 75th minute and St. Louis City won its third straight match with a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers on Saturday night, tying the MLS record for wins to start the season by an expansion team.
Jared Stroud also scored for St. Louis, which was among just four teams in MLS with two wins to start the season heading into the match.
“To be honest, it’s been a surreal couple of weeks, we’re just having a blast,” Hiebert said. “This team is special. The locker room is special. To be able to get three points on the road was big time.”
The Timbers took an early lead on Zac McGraw’s header off a corner from Eryk Williamson in the third minute. Portland has scored in a team-record 23 consecutive matches, the longest active streak in the league.
But Portland was hurt in the ninth minute when Cristhian Paredes had to be stretchered off with a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Evander, who Portland signed in the offseason.
City regrouped and dominated the rest of the opening half, tying it up with Stroud’s goal in first-half stoppage time. Heibert scored the winner on a header in the 75th that got past Timbers goalkeeper David Bingham.
“We knew this wasn’t just going to be a soccer game, it was going to be a battle,” Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said.
St. Louis was the first MLS team to score at least three goals in each of its first two matches, defeating Austin 3-2 in the opener and Charlotte 3-1 last weekend. In all three games this season, City has come from behind to win.
“We just have confidence in the group and a calmness in the group. We’ve overcome a lot of adversity over the last couple of weeks, going down goals and showing great team resolve a great spirit and to come back every time,” City coach Bradley Carnell said.
With its three wins to start the season, St. Louis matched the expansion Seattle Sounders’ start in 2009.
The Timbers opened the season with a 1-0 victory at home over Sporting Kansas City, before a 3-2 loss to LAFC last weekend