Portland puts in their best game of the tournament and Kris Boyd shows why the FO signed him. After going up early Portland weathered a storm late to ensure a 1-0 win over AIK.
John Spencer selected a line-up that will most likely be very close to the opening day line-up. With this line-up out on the field Portland really started out well but both teams were feeling each other how determining what type of game this would be. After that early feeling out stage Portland seemed to come out with the momentum and the majority of the possession. After the first 5 minutes AIK started to show why it is such a tough defensive team with a few hard tackles.
One such tackle was a hard foul on Lovel Palmer in the 6th minute. The subsequent free kick by Captain Jack Jewsbury was cleared easily by the first defender. Moments later Rodney Wallace, playing at he left mid spot, intercepted a pass in the middle of the field and immediately hit a perfect through ball to Jorge Perlaza. Perlaza, finding himself on the right outside the box, hit a perfect cross to an onrushing Boyd who hit a perfect glancing header to the far post.
It was the perfect start for the Timbers and really galvanized the crowd and the team. Portland just kept on pressing using great pressure from the midfield to snuff out any attack AIK generated. Portland's attack in had one common denominator in almost every dangerous attack they had and it was Rodney Wallace. It seemed like he was every tonight. In the 15th minute Wallace ended up with the ball outside the box and hit a great cross to Perlaza but unfortunately the header was off target. Again in the 17th minute Wallace had a great run down the left but again end chance was just off target.
In the 21st minute the game started to get even more physical with a hard foul on Captain Jack that led to a yellow. AIK was trying to disrupt any attack Portland had after the Timbers should they could almost attack at will down the wings. Even with the great possession game being played by Portland there still was the sloppy preseason pass and giveaway which lead to some half chances for AIK. Each time Troy Perkins and the defense was up to the task and kept the ball out of the back of the net.
AIK's best chance came in the 40th minute with a long free kick which gave Perkins trouble but in the end he was able palm the ball over for a corner kick which he was easily able to nab as it swung in. Portland's final chance came just a minute later as Wallace hit another great cross into the box which Boyd was able to get his head on but the AIK keeper was able to parry wide of the goal.
AIK came out looking strong in the second half and was able to win a corner in the first 20 seconds of the half. Nothing came of the corner but their intent was stated. Portland weathered the first 5 minutes and it ended with a nice save in the 50th minute by Perkins and Portland was then able to slow the game down and finally got some possession back to take the sting out of AIK's attack.
This possession led to an attack which ended with Kalif trying to do a little too much dribbling in the box and he lost the ball. The ball bounced around a little and found Boyd, who was in the right place at the right time, and he got a left foot on it but the keeper for AIK was able to push it wide for a corner. The next attack for either team was the most controversial of the night as Kalif was shouldered off the ball. The TA really took objection to the non-call by the referee but in the end it didn't change the final result.
Despite the physical nature of the play Portland continued to attack and Wallace was able to get a long range shot in the 62nd minute. Again in the 68th minute Portland had another long range shot but Boyd's free kick was unable to find the back of the net as it was deflected out for a corner. The last 20 minutes of the game devolved into 2 tired teams trying to mount attacks but lacking the legs or quality due to preseason rust to finish the attacks.
- Crazy play of the night goes to Troy Perkins who dribbles past 2 players and clearing the ball after receiving a back pass
- Rodney Wallace made a claim for a starting spot in the midfield
- Add in Franck Songo'o and this team will be dangerous going forward
- Boyd and Perlaza are a great combo up front with speed and poaching
- Our outside backs looked rusty but were more than adequate with the midfielders they had in front of them
- Kalif, as well as others, were trying too hard to hit the perfect pass when there was a simpler one which could have lead to just as dangerous of an attack.
- AIK is dominant in the air and didn't allow Portland any dangerous chances on set-pieces
- As Geoff tweeted Boyd is the Anti-Cooper (not a slight on Cooper).
Interviews and post game conference:
John Spencer (Sorry the sound is a little low so turn up your speakers I will sit by the speaker next time)
Kris Boyd (again a little quiet sorry)