- Apr. 2, 2012
Between 1976 and 1982, the New York Cosmos played the Portland Timbers eleven times. In those eleven games, Giorgio Chinaglia, who passed away on April 1, 2012, scored fourteen times for the Cosmos, including two hat tricks, and assisted on two more goals. No individual player scored more against the Timbers during the NASL era than did Chinaglia, who was denied scoring in just three of the Portland games.
In the Cosmos’ first ever game in Portland, June 12, 1976, Chinaglia wasted no time in stealing the spotlight from Pelé. The game was billed as Pelé’s first in Portland but the Italian striker scored his team’s second and third goals to complete a 3-0 rout in front of 32,247 at Civic Stadium.
The next time Chinaglia faced the Timbers he scored a 13th minute goal in New York’s 2-0 win at Giants Stadium. It was Portland’s first game in New York since a 2-1 win in July 1975 at Downing Stadium on Randall’s Island, and Chinaglia welcomed the Timbers to the Cosmos’ new stadium – a location where Portland never won.
Though the Timbers did not reach Soccer Bowl ’77, Chinaglia got a chance to score again at Portland’s Civic Stadium when the Cosmos played the Seattle Sounders for the league title. With the scored level at 1-1, Chinaglia scored the match-winner for the Cosmos, giving New York the first of four Soccer Bowl titles in his eight NASL seasons.
1978 was the Timbers’ most effective against the Cosmos, due in part to Chinaglia scoring just one goal over the three games played. Portland defeated New York in a shootout in May with Willie Anderson scoring the winning penalty against the defending NASL champions. The Timbers reached the league’s semi-final round where they faced the Cosmos with a spot in Soccer Bowl ’78 at stake. Dennis Tueart’s 47th minute goal got the Cosmos a 1-0 away win the first leg before New York blasted Portland 5-0 in front of 65,287 back in New York. Chinaglia scored in the 33rd minute before the largest crowd to ever see the Timbers play.
Though he was shut out again in May 1979, with Graham Day man-marking the great scorer, Chinaglia got his scoring form against the Timbers back when his 9th minute goal and 29th minute assist led the Cosmos to a 3-1 victory over Portland on June 27, 1979.
As if his five goals against the Timbers in the 1970s were not enough, Chinaglia erupted in goal scoring bunches against Portland in the 80s. On July 6, 1980, goals in the 21st, 34th and 49th minutes gave Chinaglia his first hat trick against the Timbers. He finished the day with an assist on Carlos Alberto’s goal in a 4-1 rout at Giants Stadium. Chinaglia again scored the first goal against Portland in a 2-0 win at Giants Stadium on July 29, 1981. But it was 1982 that showed off the best of his incredible scoring record.
On May 18, 1982, Portland took a 2-0 lead against the mighty Cosmos behind two John Bain goals. Seeking only its third victory against New York in eight seasons, Portland needed only to hang on for the second half. Yet Chinaglia scored twice in the second half, in the 65th and 68th minutes, to jumpstart the Cosmos. New York ultimately won 3-2, punctuating the difficult times for Portland. In July, Chinaglia recorded his second hat trick against the Timbers in a 6-2 blitz at Giants Stadium.
Though his fourteen goals against the Timbers account for less than ten percent of his NASL record 243, Giorgio Chinaglia had a profound effect on the Timbers. While many superstar players took the field against Portland in Cosmos kits, it was Chinaglia who repeatedly denied the Timbers success against the league’s most famous club.