Recap: Portland Timbers battle back for the draw

Quick Recap: The Portland Timbers started a younger line-up and their inexperience got the best of them in the first half after giving away possession in dangerous areas one too many times. As the more of the starters and second string players trickle in Portland gets a consistent attack going towards the end and gets the late equalizer for the 1-1 Draw.

First Half:

The nerves really showed early as Portland tried to play a possession based game but either their touch or their pass would let them down. Despite the nerves their seemed to be a higher energy to this game from the whistle which is the positive of fielding a younger and hungrier team. Sebastian Rincon and Bright Dike were terrorizing the backline of Chivas USA as the chased down every ball and challenged everything. This hustle lead to many near chances but in the end either a bad touch or a misplaced pass would let them down.

Portland did settle in a little and possess the ball but again there always seemed to be one mistake that would create a giveaway and Portland would have to scramble. Scramble they did on numerous occasions but in the end they were not able to keep Chivas from scoring on a cross into the box to a wide open player who had lost his marker. Andrew Jean-Baptiste may have had a chance to clear it but elected to go for a scissor kick and missed the ball. Without a decent replay I can't tell if this was a last ditch effort or if he could of tried something else to clear it. In any event Portland was playing from behind for the first time this preseason.

Portland did respond well to being scored on and there was no let down in the energy but as you will see throughout the recap there always was be a heavy touch, a misplaced pass or a slow to get of the foot pass that seemed to kill any momentum Portland Generated going forward. Luckily despite all the troubles Portland had getting into the final third and the ability of Chivas to get into Portland's final third Eric Brunner and Jake Gleeson snuffed any other chances.

Second Half:

The second half was just a continuation of the second half as Portland struggled to get the ball into the final third. However John Spencer started to make subs and these subs were for the most part our starters. Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan and Ryan Kawulok came and with their addition Portland became a little more dangerous in the final third.

As Portland's chances grew Chivas chances dwindled and the game seemed to turn in about the 75th minute. For the final 15 minutes of the game you could tell Portland was pressing and trying to get the equalizer and hoping they would have enough time to get the winner. The equalizer finally came off of a Alhassan corner has he hit a great ball to the back post. Dike tried to get a head on it which drew the attention of the Chivas defense but he couldn't quite get to it. With Dike unable to get to it the ball fell perfectly to Kawulok who was then able to score his first professional goal on the same day his signing was announced.

After that Chivas played for the draw and Portland found their stalling and bunker mentality tough to handle and in the end Portland also settled for the draw.

Observations:

  • Players who just seemed off tonight were: Brent Richards, James Marcelin, Bright Dike and others had their moments.
  • Players who really helped themselves tonight: Ryan Kawulok, Sebastian Rincon, and Kalif Alhassan.
  • This line-up really looked like Portland's C team which took on Chivas' B team and for the most part played them pretty tough. If this is Portland's C team Reserve games and USOC early rounds are going to be pretty good games.
  • The pairing of James Marcelin and Jack Jewsbury really hinders Portland's ability to play the ball through the middle of the field. Once Chara was subbed on for Captain Jack there it seemed the ball moved more freely up the middle of the pitch.
  • Lots of positives to this match but still seems like the season hinges on Songo'o and Boyd to change the way this team plays as compared to last year.
More will be up as Geoff and Will add their quotes from the post-game conference.
What are your impressions of the game?
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