The PortlandTimbers looked good, very good, for much of their game against Real Salt Lake. The problem, of course, is that Real Salt Lake looked good when it counts. The Timbers' defense, although they held strong for much of the game, crumbled under the pressure of a continuous Salt Lake attack late in the game. The Timbers' attack fared similarly, pushing the pace and keeping Salt Lake back on their heels for much of the game, only to run out of steam by the end of the game.
Troy Perkins: 5
Looking confident and composed, Perkins calmly grabbed crosses and pressured Salt Lake players all night long. Perkins made several good saves throughout the game, but his player rating is held back by not making the saves that you don't necessarily expect him to make. None of the goals were his fault, but he didn't stand out either.
Lovel Palmer: 4
Throughout the game, the movement of Nagbe and Alexander left Palmer with acres of space on the right side of the field. Unfortunately, when the ball got switched to him, he did not make much use of it. On defense, little of Salt Lake's came down the Timbers' right flank and Palmer did well to stifle what did come his way with the unfortunate exception of the final cross in to Kyle Beckerman for the game winning goal.
Eric Brunner: 4
Brunner looked solid in the air and organized the back for much of the game. However, he looked just a step off on each of Salt Lake's goals. Whether it was not being on the same page as Rodney Wallace on the opening penalty or getting dribbled around by Jonny Steele before he slotted the ball home, Brunner didn't quite do everything the Timbers needed him to.
For much of the game, Jean-Baptiste looked like a stud. Powerful in the air and solid on the ground, there were times when the young defender looked dominant. However, there were also times when it was clear who the rookies the pitch was as AJB had several gaffes that put the Timbers in very bad positions. While not culpable on any of the Salt Lake goals, he easily could have been if not for Perkins and Brunner.
Rodney Wallace: 3
Wallace showed flashes of the heart and skill he exhibited in the Timbers' home opener. Unlike in the home opener, however, things just did not quite come together for Wallace. The Timbers' free flowing midfield was less of a boon to Wallace than it was to Darlington Nagbe and Eric Alexander as it left him without help on defense more often than a more structured formation might. Wallace's performance was miles beyond what he showed against New England last week, but his penchant for losing his man and falling behind the play reared it's ugly head again as he gave up the penalty for the opening goal.
Playing as a defensive midfielder, Captain Jack again looked out of sorts. Although he provided good cover to the defense and clogged up the middle of the pitch for RSL, Jewsbury struggled when in control of the ball. Specifically, Jewsbury had several very dangerous passes back to his own defenders and was dispossessed by Salt Lake several times deep in Timbers territory.
Eric Alexander: 7
After several lackluster games, Alexander came alive against RSL. In the first half, Alexander created most of the Timbers best chances, including taking two blasts on goal from just outside the box. Like Darlington Nagbe, however, Alexander faded late in the game and became less effective defensively as Salt Lake tried for the tying goal.
Diego Chara: 4
As always, Chara could be found all over the field on Saturday, breaking up plays and stealing the ball away from the Salt Lake players. Unfortunately, Chara's contributions on offense were often negated by his unwillingness to use his left foot. Several times, rather than shoot or pass with his left foot, Chara opted for something fancy with his right that invariably failed. With Jewsbury being held back as a more defensive midfielder, Chara needs to facilitate the attack, not break it up.
Darlington Nagbe: 8
When you score two goals, your match rating is going to be high. When they are both goal of the week material, your match rating is even higher. When you absolutely take over a game for long stretches, your match rating is just about as high as it can get. Unfortunately, Nagbe faded down the stretch when Salt Lake began to pour on the pressure. As many have said, you need to play 90 minutes and Nagbe was not quite able to do that.
Perlaza terrorized Salt Lake's defense all night until he was subbed for Franck Songo'o in the 64th minute. Perlaza's runs stretched the defense and allowed Nagbe and Alexander to step in and be effective in influencing the game. Perlaza is also building an impressive relationship with Kris Boyd which, although it was ineffective on Saturday, seems close to paying dividends. He missed two excellent opportunities, but neither was a sure thing.
Kris Boyd: 5
Boyd had real trouble getting actively involved on the ball and looked off his game when he did so, but still drew serious attention for the RSL defense the whole game and disrupted their back line with some excellent runs. Boyd also was a force to be reckoned with in the air, knocking down ball after ball for his teammates.
Franck Songo'o: 5
With the ball at his feet, Songo'o looked good. Several times he was able to beat the Salt Lake defense and earn a corner kick for his efforts. While the chemistry with his teammates is continuing to develop, Songo'o showed what he brings to the table.
The Closer was brought in at the 76th minute for Diego Chara and played alongside Jewsbury in a defensive midfield capacity. Marcelin struggled to provide the same disruptive qualities as Chara on the day, doing little to stop the RSL attack and even less to help the Timbers in theirs. The fact that his give away lead to Jonny Steele's tying goal was just the icing on the cake of an overall rough performance from Marcelin.
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.
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