Geoff was not available to do the player ratings this week so I will be filling in for him today. -Will
Yesterday the Portland Timbers struggled early on against FC Dallas, looking extremely shaky as they went down 1-0 before the half. However, in the second half of play the Timbers came roaring back, grabbing an early equalizer and looking likely to take all three points until tiring later on.
Troy Perkins: 6
Perkins was once again a rock in goal. Although he only made two saves on the night, they were key to the Timbers taking any points. His 72' save of a Daniel Hernandez shot from range prevented Dallas from regaining their momentum while the Timbers continued to press for a winner. Even the goal cannot be put at Perkins feet. The initial shot from Bryan Leyva was well hit and Perkins did well to get down and save it.
Although Wallace struggled early on and was somewhat culpable for Dallas's goal, he managed to turn his fortunes around and lock down the left side later on in the game. In the first half, Wallace could not dribble, pass, or defend as he was tortured by the speedy youngster Bryan Leyva. In the build up to Dallas's goal, Wallace could have gotten a touch to Jair Benitez's cross, but instead of playing it safe, he let the ball past him where it fell to Leyva, resulting in Blas Perez's goal. Like the Timbers as a whole, Wallace seemed a step slower than he did on Monday and the fans will hope for a return to the electric runs forward he exhibited against Philadelphia. Wallace's second half, still bereft of any real contributions to the attack, was at least solid defensively.
More player ratings after the jump.
Eric Brunner: 5
Eric Brunner, with one important exception, was solid and reliable at the back. Brunner looked good in the air, stepped in to make several key interceptions and generally did what defenders do. However, Brunner's instincts let him down briefly and contributed to the single Dallas goal. Instead of staying with his man, Blas Perez, Brunner peeled off to double team Bryan Leyva. However, since Leyva had already ripped a shot that Perkins could only parry away, Perez was left wide open to tap home the ball into an empty net.
The Timbers best defender on the day, Mosquera showed everyone that he is ready for the travel and rigors of MLS play. In the first half, when even the usually unshakable Diego Chara looked a little bit off, Mosquera was the only Timber who impressed. Mosquera exhibited speed, strength, and some excellent tackling to shut down countless Dallas attacks.
Lovel Palmer: 5
Palmer looked lost early in the game and had some difficulty containing FC Dallas winger Carlos Rodriguez, but looked much better in the second half. At first, Palmer and Alhassan on the right wing were not able to get anything going on the attack but covered well for each other on defense. While Palmer was caught out several times as the game wore on, his work ethic and stamina allowed him to cover a large distance as he created several good chances on goal in the second half. His header that bounced off the post of Kevin Hartman's goal was the lone high point of the Timbers first half.
Eric Alexander: 4
Eric Alexander's contributions against his former team were a mixed bag. On the attack, Alexander was hesitant and seemed unwilling to take on players with the ball at his feet until well into the second half. His passes were also very erratic, with crosses often soaring over the goal and out of bounds. On defense, Alexander was average during the run of play, although his partnership with Rodney Wallace could have been better, but he did contribute significantly on corner kicks. While the Timbers were besieged by Dallas, who had seven corners to Portland's 3, Alexander managed to head clear three Dallas corner kicks in a row. Alexander also had an excellent scoring opportunity of his own toward the end of the first half, but was unable to get it on frame.
Diego Chara: 7
Despite some iffy early touches, Chara was his usual destructive self against Dallas. Chara completed 85% of his passes on the day and broke up plays all over the field. He also made more interceptions than anyone else on the pitch.
Captain Jack did not impress against Dallas. With the FC Dallas central midfielders effectively shutting down the center of the midfield in early play, Jewsbury was punished for each errant touch and and each sloppy pass with a dangerous turnover. By the second half, Jewsbury had settled in to his usual game of bolstering the defense and playing the short pass and was much more effective on both sides of the ball but, like most of the Timbers, a rough first half negatively effected his score.
Last night Alhassan never found the space to run at players that he made such effective use of on Monday. Without the opportunity to take on the Dallas defense, Alhassan's offensive contributions were severely limited. He did play in several dangerous free kicks, but where Alhassan was most effective was in tracking back defensively and helping to shut down Dallas's wide attack.
Perlaza had a short outing in Dallas, getting subbed for Darlington Nagbe halfway through the match. Before being pulled, Perlaza looked somewhat lost and was unable to time his runs in order to draw the Dallas defense out of position, something he did admirably on Monday. Overall, Perlaza had a difficult time finding the play and in the several instances that he was able to get a hold of the ball his touch deserted him and the ball ended up out of bounds or at the feet of a Dallas defender.
Kris Boyd: 6
Although Boyd had very few touches of the ball, the two shots that he did manage both forced quality saves from Kevin Hartman. Boyd's status as a dangerous striker also lead to him continuously drawing extra attention from the defense, something that Perlaza was unable to take advantage of in the first half, but that Darlington Nagbe was able to capitalize on in the 2nd.
Darlington Nagbe: 8
Nagbe was the most influential player on the pitch last night. The substitution of Nagbe for Perlaza in the second half injected the Timbers with energy and ideas. Nagbe's dribbling and passing, as well as his willingness to go get the ball anywhere on the field, were sorely lacking for the Timbers in the first 45'. His goal was well taken, although perhaps the most impressive part was recognizing that he was not offside and playing to the whistle.
James Marcelin gets brought on late in the game to shut down the midfield, play simple passes, and close out the game. in his thirteen minutes on the pitch, Marcelin made several tackles and several simple passes, helping the Timbers obtain and retain possession and shepherding the match to its conclusion without unnecessary drama.
0: Absolutely atrocious.
1 - 3: Poor. Questionably first team, or bench player.
4 - 6: Fair. Quality player that played to expectations. Perhaps could have done more.
7 - 9: Great. On top of their game, even if everything doesn't always connect.
10: Perfect. Couldn't have been a better night and very few mistakes made.
Agree? Disagree? Miss Geoff's ratings (Don't worry. He'll be back next week.)? Let us know in the comments.