The Portland Timbers got the first goal again but failed to keep LA Galaxy from getting the equalizer in the first half. The game then opened up with end to end action but neither team scored until, you guessed it, the 80th minute passed. As you probably know it was not the Timbers who scored. LA won 3-1.
From the start you could tell there were two teams on the pitch that were desperate as the pace of went from 0 to 60 in 3.54 seconds. Usually this would spell doom for the Timbers, just like the last time they played at LA, but this time Portland weathered the early storm. That was mostly due to the line-up changes Spencer used compared to the first few games of the season, with Steve Purdy and Mike Chabala looking more comfortable dealing with the speed and quality of LA on the wings.
Even with the revamped defense LA got the first chance of the game in the 10th minute. Chad Barrett was able to get a low hard cross into the middle of the box but Troy Perkins was able to palm the ball away. Fortunately the rebound went past a crashing Roy Keane and to a Portland defender who cleared the ball away.
The back and forth continued as both teams played at a torrid pace as the ball seemed to go from end to end in a matter of seconds. However most of the half chances that did occur usually were created by LA and not the Timbers. The Timbers CB tandem thankfully were able to handle anything LA threw at them.
The steady defense paid off. Portland showed some great teamwork as they passed the ball through the middle of the field (I can't believe I am writing this), and Eric Alexander slipped a through ball to Kris Boyd. With the ball at his feet Boyd knows exactly what to do with a 1 on 1 with the keeper and he showed us a perfect finish to the far post.
The buildup to the goal was a thing of beauty as the attack actually started with an offside free kick. Chewy ended up with the ball on the wing and he passed it back to Captain Jack Jewsbury. Jewsbury hit a centering ball to Diego Chara and Chara flicked it by his defender to Darlington Nagbe. Nagbe hit a great one touch pass to Alexander and he then hit a one time through ball to Boyd. Boyd then hit a first time shot. In total it was 8 touches and Jewsbury was the only player to touch it more than once.
After the goal the whole flow of the game shifted from Portland playing defense to Portland playing offense. In a matter of minutes Boyd had two opportunities with one being saved by Josh Saunders and a beautiful goal called back because Boyd was ruled to be offside, which replays show it wasn't. Portland's pressure continued as they routinely countered after any of LA's attacks. However they were unable to connect in the final third or find Boyd, who LA decided needed to be double teamed at all times. LA's attacks were relentless but none of them were dangerous.
When it looked like Portland would go into the locker room with the lead, disaster struck. Eric Brunner slipped which allowed Keane into the box and he was able to find a wide open Landon Donovan who slotted the ball home.
The second half played a lot like the first half with both teams continuing to play at a fast pace and with end to end soccer. Although both teams were pressing for their second goals neither team was able to find that final ball to create the dangerous chances. This continued for the first 20 minutes of the second half.
LA had the first real chance as Keane was able to keep a ball in play off a set piece and hit a ball to the back post. The ball was then headed back across the goal to David Junior Lopez who kneed the ball over the cross bar from 2 yards out. After missing the goal Lopez almost injured himself by violently kicking the goal post, and in the replays you could see him limping back to his CB position.
Minutes later LA had their next opportunity as the second of two successive corner kicks created a wide open header for LA but the header was cleared off the line by Franck Songo'o. His clearance went right to Chara who immediately hit the after burners and raced up the field.
Chara slipped a ball to Nagbe who was 1 on 2 with more defenders rushing to catch up and realizing this he hit the ball wide to an on rushing Chewy. Chewy attacked the box and whipped in a great cross towards Chara, who was able to knock the ball down to Eric Alexander. Alexander, 20 seconds after Songo'o had cleared the ball off the line, hit a left footed shot curling towards the far post that looked destined to go in but the ball hit the crossbar and bounced out and eventually off an LA player for a corner.
The next 7 minutes of play were a continuation of the frenetic play exhibited by both teams but no real chances were created. The game then entered the 80th minute. For the next 10 minutes I have written the same thing for the last three games and I just can't write it again. Portland lost the game 3-1.
- Mosco is a beast and without him the scoreline would have been a lot worse and having him paired with Brunner really helps the outside backs get forward
- The two "new" outside backs really played well tonight and they played both offense and *gasp* defense
- Lovel Palmer in for Jewsbury was an interesting sub but I did not see enough to say it was good or bad.
- It is all mental now, the team needs to somehow win one after the 80th minute. Only way to cure this "disease"
- Seeing balls played to Boyd's feet is awesome and his goal looked exactly like all the other goals he scored.
- I will be avoiding almost all soccer related sites except this one....
- For all those who missed this comment by Almost Awesome:
and then going home and writing fan fiction about how the Timbers went on to win.