Carson, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Timbers clinched the top spot in the Western Conference on Saturday behind a brilliant first-half performance from Diego Valeri, who scored two goals and assisted on another in Portland's 5-0 win over Chivas USA at the StubHub Center.
Valeri had just recently recovered from an injury, but head coach Caleb Porter felt that clinching the top spot in the conference was important enough to put his star midfielder in the lineup.
And Porter was rewarded with a fantastic display as Valeri opened the scoring in the 16th minute, doubled the lead in the 29th and then set up a goal for Rodney Wallace five minutes later.
Porter took Valeri off at halftime with the match well in hand, while Ryan Johnson and Will Johnson each added another goal after the break to cap the scoring.
It took 16 minutes for the Timbers to take the lead when a deflected shot fell into the path of Valeri inside the penalty area for a simple first-time finish inside the left post.
The second goal was a nice piece of individual skill from Valeri as he eluded a defender 25 yards from goal and scored on a delightful chip from just outside the box.
Wallace got in on the scoring in the first half after a nice ball from Valeri allowed him to score on a first-time redirection, putting Portland in firm control of the contest.
Ryan Johnson scored in the 72nd minute on a rebound after Wallace had his shot saved by Chivas goalkeeper Tim Melia, while Will Johnson also found the net four minutes later with a free kick.