The Portland Timbers look out of sync for most of the game and 2 subs due to injuries limit any adjustments John Spencer could make. Portland once again loses on the road, this time 2-0 to an expansion team.
John Spencer kept the same line-up, except for the inclusion of Steven Smith for the injured Mike Chabala, as he used last game. With that said the team still looked out of rhythm and really looked like they were still trying to work out their jet-lag. Passes were missed, balls bounced all over the place and in general the team looked disjointed.
Thankfully the Montreal Impact looked the same for the first 5 minutes. It was almost as if a high school soccer game broke out. For the next 15 minutes of the game though Portland looked like the expansion team as Montreal continued to attack with pace. Portland, meanwhile, seemed to walk the ball up at a snail's pace only to give it up with route one soccer. Twice, in the 14th minute and the 18 minute, Montreal came down their left flank and beat Steve Purdy. However both of the balls back from the end line into the box that found an attacking player were blasted over and wide of the goal.
Portland did have some bright spots, well I guess you could call them bright but in reality they were a candle light compared to a bright spot. Smith showed he could hit a long ball and a free kick better than any else on the Timbers roster this season. However he has the same problems as the other outside backs, namely speedy players easily blow by him.
Kris Boyd worked hard but no one was able to find him with any semblance of a decent pass. Captain Jack Jewsbury looked good going forward at times and had a shot on goal that Donovan Rickets had to save in the 38th minute which was Portland's best chance of the half.
Portland came out a little hesitant again but as the game progressed past the 50th minute Portland started to pick up the energy. Passes were starting to connect and even long shots were starting to fly. Portland really started to find a Rhythm and Darlington Nagbe started to find the ball more.
What happened next derailed any momentum Portland had. Sanna Nyassi, yep the same one who goes down easy, was put behind the defense with a through ball. Troy Perkins read the ball perfectly and came off of his line to challenge for the ball. When he went down Nyassi put his foot out to reach for the ball even though you could see he was not going to get it. His cleats raked across Perkins' face and caused a laceration to his nose which had to be glued shut. For such a dangerous play he got a yellow but it really should be reviewed in my opinion.
It took the training staff minutes to get Perkins to come off the field and by that time Portland's momentum was gone. They regressed back to the discombobulated play of the first half. Joe Bendik did an admirable job coming in on short notice and made a couple of good saves but once again with 75 minutes to play Portland gave up goals.
The first goal was controversial to say the least. Montreal had an attack which found it's way into the box and on the ensuing drop Collen Warner hit a shot on frame. Smith was in position and made the block with his knee but the ball bounced up and hit his hand. All of this was done as Smith was turning his back and the ball was not headed into the net.In no way was it deliberate and the ball was not even going on frame after it hit his knee.
To quote FIFA (emphasis is mine):
A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following three offences:
- Holds an opponent
- spits at an opponent
- handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
- Jorge Perlaza had a terrible game, he was called offside 5 times in the first half alone
- Perkins was looking good and was reading the shots well.....
- No offense with the line-up Spencer trotted out.
- Where is Kawoluk? Why Braun? So many other questions.
- Out worked again, maybe it is time to wonder how a motivator does not motivate his players.
- Franck Songo'o looks like a different player then the pre-season Songo'o and I am not sure what happened.
- This game just reaffirms that I hate the Eastern Time Zone. Timbers have never won in the Eastern Time Zone.