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In the Timbers 1-1 battle against D.C. United on Saturday night it was the defense that impressed, holding the visitors to only one shot on goal. Find out how the team did individually in this week's player ratings.
A slow start from the Timbers saw them under pressure early and enduring the first fifteen minutes of the game before the balance of play leveled out. Although the Timbers often looked the more dangerous team, they were not able to create many chances on goal in the first half, taking a score of 0-0 into the locker room.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, however, a penalty kick was called on the Timbers thanks to a phantom David Horst handball in the box. Chris Pontius converted the chance for DC and lit a fire under the Timbers in the process. Pressing forward constantly for the remainder of the game, the Timbers would eventually find the equalizer from Bright Dike in the 81st minute as he slammed home a no-angle shot into the roof of the net.
Here are the individual player ratings:
"Bendik was vocal, he read the flow on the field well, and he saved the one shot he was called on to save (aside from the PK). Can't ask for a whole lot more from him."
"The result of the penalty kick can hardly be held against him and he had one other routine save to make. Good communication, clearances, and distribution were Bendik's main contributions to the game."
"He was all over the place in the first 15 minutes of the game and it took Nagbe being switched to his side to make sure he did not get burned. This in turn took Nagbe out of the offense which caused the offense to become stagnant at times."
"Not a bad effort for the right back. He won some important tackles and 50/50s. He didn't show the tendencies to get beat down the line that he had in recent matches. But he also did not contribute very much to the attack, which is tough for Sal Zizzo to overcome."
"Good, physical play highlighted by a couple of inch-perfect slide tackles in the box. Horst was on top of things the whole game but, regardless of whether the ball actually hit him, flapping your arms around in the air while jumping to block a ball in the penalty box is just a bad idea."
"He had some crucial tackles, including one where the linesman missed an obvious offside call, and lately he appears to have overcome the mental lapses that plagued him earlier in the season."
"Mosco weathered the storm of poor Timbers play early on in the game without showing any weakness. However, he went own with a pulled hamstring in the 25th minute and was not able to make any meaningful contribution to the game."
"Smith got up and down the left flank all night, providing good coverage and some good outlets for a pass down the wing. His teammates did not make the best use of his runs until late in the game, when it was his well placed cross that led to Bright Dike's goal."
"He has really solidified his hold on the left back position with his recent performances. His ability to pass and get forward have really helped out the stagnant offense has had the last few games."
"Did well defensively and did not give up any fouls around the box. His corners just did not seem as dangerous as they were the last game."
"Captain Jack didn't provide much going forward, but he provided some good cover for a Timbers defense that never really looked like conceding. If the team can put in a defensive effort like that next week, starting in the midfield, the one point needed to take home the Cascadia Cup is looking very attainable."
"He filled Diego Chara's role well, getting in the way at both ends of the pitch and winning some crucial interceptions in dangerous areas. But when he got the ball he looked unsure of what to do with it, more often than not passing backward than properly considering his options upfield."
"Did you see the number of interceptions and tackles that Wallace had or the number of times he regained possession for the team? According to MLS's stat keepers, more than one third of the tackles made by the Timbers and one fourth of the times the team regained possession were credited to Wallace. Not too shabby."
"Was important to the Timbers success defensively, but was in a frustrating routine of passing the ball and then dropping back, instead of running on to give his teammate someone to pass to."
"His defensive contributions helped Portland shut down Andy Najar on the wing and without his help Kimura would have been in deep trouble."
"The more I've seen Sal Zizzo this year the more I realize that I've underestimated his quality. Yes, he has some faults, and yes his play last year certainly left a lot to be desired, but when an opposing defense sets itself up to stop one guy by blocking the flank and double teaming him as soon as the ball comes to him -- and they still can't stop him -- that's when you know you've got a special player."
"I feel like I have used the word 'tormented' to describe what Zizzo does to opposing defenses a lot in recent months and he did it again on Saturday. Add in a fantastic work rate and another brief but solid stint at right back to close out his shift and Sal did pretty well against DC."
"'Emotional leader' became a buzzword (buzzphrase?) in April and May when it seemed like the Timbers were searching for one. Songo'o helps fill that void, but when he gets as angry as he did after the PK, his emotions get in the way of his effectiveness. I did enjoy watching him harass Bill Hamid though."
"Gotta give Songo'o credit for entertaining the fans with some ball juggling in front of Bill Hamid. Furthermore the Timbers offense blossomed after his shift into the center midfield role -- his interplay with Sal Zizzo had me wondering why we ever have them separated by the width of the field. But as the game went on and his frustration grew, He reverted to some of his bad habits, like holding onto the ball when he should pass it."
"What a goal. What. A. Goal. But what about all the other chances? Dike does so many things right, is so many things this team has needed for the past two years -- he holds up the ball, he runs hard, he gets into great positions -- but his shots go out for throw-ins far too often."
"Dike missed two chances where he should have at least tested the keeper and made one that was nothing like a sure thing. Everyone else on the team, however, did not score at all and few can claim a work rate like Dike's as he continued to pressure the DC defense for the full 90 minutes, so credit where credit is due."
"When the other team only had two shots on goal and one was PK, your defense probably did alright. Futty had a quieter game than Horst, but he didn't look like a guy who's been relegated to the bench lately."
"Just did not see time on the ball once he came in to be effective offensively."
"Despite the DC attack pressuring him each time they regained the ball from the Timbers in the final minutes of the game, Richards played good defense and was able to get forward into the attack. He was not, however, able to actually make much of a mark on the game in his limited time."
Agree? Disagree? Let us know what your player ratings are in the comments.