Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City Player Ratings: Defense Edition

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 21: Eric Brunner #5, Jack Jewsbury #13 and Lovel Palmer #30 of the Portland Timbers celebrate after the game against Sporting Kansas City at Jeld-Wen Field on April 21, 2012 in Portland, Oregon. The Timbers won the game 1-0.(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

We got our win! Can't say it was pretty, but 3 points is 3 points and, honestly, we're in no position to be picky about that these days. In any case, as the title suggests we owe a lot to the Portland Timbers' defense this time around as well as the formation which head coach John Spencer chose for the match. With it, the Timbers were able to effectively shut down most chances that came at the Timbers... and there were quite a few of them!

On to the player ratings!

Starting XI

Troy Perkins: 7

This one is easy. As a keeper all you can expect out of them is to keep the ball out of the net and he did, helping the Timbers secure their first shut out of the season. Some iffy distribution keeps his score a little low.

Ryan's Rating: 5

His one mistake did not cost the Timbers and his distribution was suspect as usual but he got the clean sheet.

Steve Purdy: 5

Decent night for Purdy, but not nearly as effective in terms of crosses as he was last week. He needs to work on being a little more consistent.

Will's Rating: 6

Dealt well with Bobby Convey, one of the better left wingers in MLS. Purdy did look hesitant at times with the ball at his feet.

Eric Brunner: 6

A decent night for the center back. SKC's attack is fairly strong and physical so it was nice to see Brunner able to step up and shut down much of what was coming.

Will's Rating: 7

Stood strong against a group of physical attacking players. After getting manhandled for CJ Sapong's first goal of his MLS career last season, I had my worries about Brunner, but he more than proved me wrong.

Hanyer Mosquera: 7

An iffy start for the center back spurred on some great defending later on. While he allowed Sapong to get passed him initially, I feel like afterwards he really shut the young forward from then on. Good of him to realize when and who he needs to watch the most.

Andy's Rating: 7

Mosco had a sketchy moment when CJ Sapong scooted past him on the back line to feed an unready Kei Kamara, but other than that he gave the SKC offense no space to work in.

Mike Chabala: 5

Not much from Chewie in my opinion, though not for a total lack of his fault. I just felt like the game was primarily played on the right side of the field. Still, his he did make some impressive runs and got the ball into the box on more than one occasion.

Will's Rating: 7

Chewie talked about the need for veteran leadership last week and on Saturday he put his money where his mouth is. While his play was solid, the fire he brought to the pitch was exactly what the team has been lacking.

Darlington Nagbe: 4

A little invisible actually. Nagbe continues to search for where to be most effective. Unfortunately, on Saturday it was not on the right side of the field. Not that he did anything bad but, rather, he just didn't contribute much.

Andy's Rating: 5

Nagbe played defense just well enough, but failed to make much impact offensively. The best technical player on the team doesn't appear to have a position that perfectly suits him.

Lovel Palmer: 8

An early complaint when announced, Palmer suddenly turned into super footballer against SKC. After his performance tonight, I'm not sure why anybody ever considered him for the right back position. Keep him as a center defensive mid and I think he can go much farther.

Ryan's Rating: 8

Can't stress this enough, Palmer was playing out of position and without him containing Zusi this turns out differently.

Jack Jewsbury: 7

Much better performance from the captain than we've seen in previous games. I'm not sure why, or what's changed since his previous games but he needs to maintain this level, especially as the captain.

Andy's Rating: 6

His best performance since the opener, he had some great looks from the top of the box and was very unlucky not to score.

Diego Chara: 8

Another head scratcher heading into the game, Chara played phenomenally well on the wing, something nobody really expected. Between Chara and Palmer I'm not sure who really deserves man of the match.

Will's Rating: 6

Looked good out on the wing, particularly on the right where his lack of a left foot is not so painfully obvious. Although he has not looked comfortable on the wing, he has looked good out there. Also, he made some hilarious faces after being called for fouls.

Jorge Perlaza: 6

Decent performance brought down by his lack of actual shots. As a striker he needs to figure out how to take more shots and dribble less.

Ryan's Rating: 6

Was a great pressure valve for Portland and his runs off of Boyd's flicks are perfect.

Kris Boyd: 7

Well he got the assist (kind of) on the only goal scored in the game, even if it was an own goal for that he's been raised in the ratings a bit. Additionally, I feel like he completely bullied SKC's center back Collin so much so that I'm wondering if Boyd stole his lunch money after the game.

Andy's Rating: 6

Dewd, you gotta score when you're given perfect service like that. Having said that, that was the first time I've seen Collin whimper. Nice work.

Substitutes

Freddie Braun: 5

It was unfortunate that Purdy had to come out, but pretty amazing to see Braun finally take the field in a regular season match. That said, he performed about as I would expect. I think he needs to see regular season game time to really become effective.

Andy's Rating: 6

Versatility gets you into the 18. A little luck (bad, in this case) gets you on the field. You need something else entirely to shut down Kamara for the all important final 12 minutes (+ stoppage) of the match.

Eric Alexander: 5

Another substitute who didn't contribute too much. Honestly I think I prefer Alexander as a starter. Get him gelling with the team early on and they seem to reap the benefits as the end of the first half comes. Anything less and I'm underwhelmed.

Ryan's Rating: 5

Made some plays but was not in long enough to have an affect on the game

Franck Songo'o: 7

Okay, normally I don't rank players who've played so little time, but bravo to the man for some excellent time wasting while we were all holding our breaths.

What do you guys think? How did this team stack up to the previous weeks'?

Scoring Guide

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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