Recap: Portland Timbers move into the Playoff picture

Look out MLS Portland is looking to make the playoffs.(Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

Quick Recap: 

Portland plays one of its best halves and takes it to a team they should beat. On the road to dominance Portland gets goals from both starting forwards and wins 3-0.

First Half:

From the opening whistle the Portland Timbers came out with fire and an urgency. The urgency wasn't one of desperation or so frantic that they were exposed but one that was a determined and focused. The possession and precision passing effort the Timbers showed was some of the best soccer I have seen this year from any MLS side. They were able to attack down the wing pull it back and switch to the other side to probe again. All of the possession paid off as Portland found the early goal they were looking for. 

The ball started down the left side and was crossed across the goal and was saved from going out for a goal kick by a great flick on header by Sal Zizzo. Lovel Palmer then collected the ball and hit a cross that was knocked down and collected by Diego Chara, who split 2 defenders and was 1v1 with the Keeper. Chara then hit the ball easily past Matt Reis and into the net for a 9th minute goal.

Despite Portland's offensive showcase the New England Revolution had a chance to draw level minutes later but Troy Perkins was up to the task and made a great diving save to his left. Portland then weathered a few more half chances until they were able again to assert their dominance. 

Cooper had multiple opportunities to make it 2 in the first half but was unable to get a solid chance on goal until the 32nd minute. Portland found Mike Chabala on the left and he was able to hit a cross that found a wide open Kenny Cooper who was able use his body and get Portland's second goal.

Second Half:

New England came out looking to get an early goal to try and cut into Portland's lead. As they pressed Portland continually absorbed the pressure and looked to counter. The counter attack almost always went through Darlington Nagbe as he was able to gather the ball, hold it and then deliver the pass that was needed to relieve the pressure on the Defense. 

Nagbe's play was instrumental in Portland's ability to continually absorb New England's attempts to throw men forward. Nagbe was rewarded for his hard work as Kalif Alhassan hit a great ball into the box that Nagbe was able to head home for the game sealing goal. 

Credit to New England as they continued to fight and look for a goal. Portland was up to the task and was able to seal the win and the third clean sheet in a row. 

Observations:

  • Kenny Cooper and Nagbe up top were our best combination yet
  • Nagbe's best position is forward and he added that link up with the midfield that the Timbers had been missing.
  • Despite the label of "must win" Portland did not let it effect the way they played and it showed
  • Portland currently sits tied for 9th
  • Most important win of the year (so far)
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