Portland made 3 changes to the starting line-up for this game and it changed the complexion of the team. Granted Chivas USA is almost as injury riddled as the Portland Timbers and it was the US Open Cup. John Spencer called on Jake Gleeson to stand between the pipes, Kalif Alahassan came on to man the wing and James Marcelin took the place of Captain Jack Jewsbury.
The first 15 minutes was exactly what the Timbers needed and the pressed the attack from the start. The pressure almost paid off with a first minute header for Kenny Copper that just went over the bar. The pressure continued until Chivas started to find the possession and mount some attacking play. Low and behold a soccer game actually broke out with both teams having their moments when they looked dangerous. The most dangerous play did go to Chivas as a through-ball was played giving a 1 on 1 with Gleeson. Gleeson came up huge as he got one hand on the shot, hitting the ball up in the air which was then cleared by the recovering defense.
The turning point of the game was in the 43rd minute, Chivas USA Andrew Boyens earned his second yellow of the half for a foul on Kenny Cooper. The rest of the half was the Timbers trying to attack Chivas and pick up the goal before half and not give Chivas time to make adjustments. Unfortunately the Timbers were not able to capitalize.
The second half looked a lot more sloppy as the rain continued to pore and the conditions became worse. With the rain slicked field the ball continued to skip and gave players from both sides problems. Portland still tried to attack down the flanks but the goal just wouldn't come.
Chivas despite being a man down still looked to attack on the counter and they almost grabbed the lead with through ball to put Justin Braun into a dangerous position. Jake Gleeson came out of his box and made a great tackle to thwart the goal scoring opportunity. The save instantly changed the momentum of the game. From that goal Portland turned around and attacked with the ball ending up on the foot of Jewsbury who hit a worm burner into the bottom left corner of the goal past the diving Dan Kennedy. From their the game continued to be a back and forth affair until Eric Brunner put the game away on a corner, heading the ball and then picking up the rebound to pound the ball home.
Timbers come away with a great 2-0 win and a definite confidence boost early in the season.
- Jake Gleeson was the Man of the Match. His 2 saves were game changers and did everything the Timbers needed him to do. Is he really our third string keeper?
- Marcelin was amazing in the middle of the pitch, seemed like he was everywhere and really broke up any of the Chivas attacks. Maybe he should get a start or at least be looked at.
- Alahassan was the most dangerous player on the wing we have had in the last 3 games. He made Rodney Wallace's job easy and allowed Wallace to actually get forward to join the attack.
- Perlaza needs to be a little more selfish, he seems to be deferring to Kenny Cooper and giving up goal scoring opportunities to try and get him the ball. However I did like the chemistry that is starting to develop between Cooper and Perlaza
- You could see the relief from the Timbers when the goal finally came and again when Brunner scored. Great win and something this team needed.
- TIMBERS WIN! I love writing that statement!