Portland Timbers End Their Inaugural Season on a Good Note

Quick Recap:

The Portland Timbers came out and showed that they still had pride in wearing Timbers Green and show flashes of brilliance. Real Salt Lake unfortunately struck first but Portland kept fighting and got the equalizer late. 1-1 Tie.

First Half:

John Spencer decided to keep a good thing going and started the same starting 11 that came out strong against D.C. Itworked as Portland again came out with energy and purpose. Unfortunately the same errors Portland had at D.C. showed up again as the final ball was never what it needed to be.

Over and over Portland would work the ball into a semi-dangerous position only to see the final cross either hit out of bounds or the final pass hit directly at a defender. Not only was the final ball not there but some of the shot decisions were ambitious at best. It was as if the Timbers looked up and said "Hey, Nick Rimando is short lets shoot from anywhere because I bet he can't stop it." First off if that is the case Portland you need to be able to hit the ball on frame not just spray it all over the place. It was almost like I was watching my younger brother's high school game, balls going every where but the goal.

Despite the lack of production around the goal Portland did look like the better team and the more confident team. However that all went out the window as RSL scored a late first half goal. Futty Danso was caught trying to decide whether or not to turn and get the ball or attack it in the air. The indecisiveness cost him and the Timbers as Alvaro Saborio easily chipped it over an on-rushing Troy Perkins for a goal in the 45th Minute.

Second Half:

Even though Portland did go into the locker room down a goal they came out after half looking to score the equalizer early. They were able to pass the ball around and again find the open players on the wings but nothing developed. All you heard was John Strong saying "Bad pass/ball/give away there by (Insert all players but Chara here)". (I am almost tempted to go back through the whole broadcast and just count the number of times Rodney Wallace's name comes up in that sentence)

After 10 minutes of the renewed Energy from Portland it looked as if RSL started to gain momentum or at least a lot more of the possession. RSL was just looking to take the sting out of the game and salt the game away. The strategy almost back fired on RSL as Diego Chara hit a beautiful ball across the field to an on rushing Lovel Palmer. As Palmer tried to cross the ball into the box the ball hit Chris Wingert's arm and the ref called for a penalty in the 55th minute. 

RSL was none too happy with the call and did everything it could to ruin Captain Jack Jewsbury's concentration. Somehow it worked as Captain Jack missed, hitting the ball off the crossbar and out of play. (As another aside RSL acted like that miss essentially won them the MLS Cup. Oh and Will Johnson settle down Canadian, you looked like a tool after the miss taunting Captain Jack like that. I blame Canada for that, you dirty Canadians.)

The missed penalty did take some of the wind out of Portland's sails but they continued to fight and press on. The game got even more chippy than it had been and there probably should have been more Yellows shown and a Red on Saborio for a straight slap to the face on David Horst. Really classless and I can't believe the ref did not give a Yellow, the tape should be sent to MLS headquarters to be reviewed.

Despite the strong arm tactics Portland responded and got the goal it rightly deserved. Brian Umony found himself on the wing just outside of the box and finally hit the ball Portland needed. With Bright Dike rumbling towards the ball Rimando came out to challenge but the ball skipped between them and found an on rushing Futty and he made up for giving up the first goal by scoring the equalizer. 

Observations:

  • Great to see Portland not give up despite being out of the playoffs
  • Captain Jack did not score a single goal or notch an assist in the last 7 games of the year
  • Portland finished the last 5 road games by going 1-1-3 as compared to the first 12 where they went 1-8-3
  •  Great season and finishing 12th is quite an accomplishment (in Seattle's expansion year Columbus won the SS with 49, in 4 extra games LA got to 67)
  • I am already antsy for Player acquisitions and who our Home Grown Player will be.
  • The TA have set the bar really high for away support (I think an unbalanced schedule with more trips on the west coast would be better for away supporter travel)
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