Finally! It may have only been a handful of games since the Portland Timbers last scored (which is still bad mind you) but it really started to feel like forever since we had a reason to cheer at a game. On Sunday, however, the Timbers and the Fire, I guess, gave us two very solid reasons to cheer. It was a huge relief seeing that first goal get knocked in and the hope is that now that the pressure has been relieved a bit, our players can get back into the the flow of the game and keep bringing home points.
Also, I'd just like to say that, while neither Timbers goal game from the run of play, just getting anything at this point is a good thing. We're in no place to be picky about our goals.
Anyway, on to the player ratings!
Troy Perkins: 7
Great game for Troy Perkins, as usual. Was he man of the match though? I'm not so sure. The goal against him wasn't entirely unstoppable. Still he came up with some huge saves and, for that, he's certainly been raised a few points.
Ryan's rating: 7 - Since he has gone all Hannibal Lector he has eaten opponent's livers with fava beans when they try and score on him. Always up there for MOTM for me.
Mike Chabala: 5
Continually handed possession back over to the Fire with his long crosses, but still played some good defense at times. As a natural left back, I think he's doing an alright job in the right back position.
Andy's rating: 4 - Turns out he can give up possession just as well on the right side of the field.
Eric Brunner: 7
Got the goal. Kept most of Chicago's attack neutered throughout the game. Yeah, it was a good night for Brunner's return to the starting 11.
Ryan's rating: 7 - Thank you for ending the scoring drought and thank you for keeping the lead. He still showed some moments of rust but overall a great game
Same as Brunner except with the assist instead of the goal, really. Mosqo did a fine job keeping most things under wraps. The singular goal was a bit of a let down, but I'm not convinced Mosqo could have prevented that.
Andy's rating: 7 - Solid. And an assist. Nuff said.
Steven Smith: 5
Along with Lovel Palmer, Smith is pretty much responsible for allowing the space provided for the Fire to score. It's a shame because, aside from that, I felt like he was really starting to gel with the team.
Ryan's rating: 5 - Would have been higher if he didn't have the major gaffe which lead to the only Fire goal.
Not quite sure what to say about Songo'o. Sometimes he looks brilliant out there. Others he looks slow and out of sync with the rest of the attack. More often than not, it's the latter. Where is the Songo'o we saw back in February?
Andy's rating: 4 - Played in a nice corner kick to the far post, but he didn't have the skill or the stamina to break down Chicago's left flank. He didn't get much help from Chabala or Nagbe, but he didn't do much himself either.
Diego Chara: 7
Pretty much wreaked havoc on the Chicago Fire all night long. For being a small guy, I don't think many teams think he is going to be such a hell raiser and, as such, don't focus on him as much, but he's tough as nails out there.
Ryan's rating: 6 - Was like he usually is and this time seemed to get involved in the offensive a little better, still think he should be the CDM and have someone else in front of him.
Lovel Palmer: 4
Along with Smith, Palmer is partly responsible for the goal the Chicago Fire earned on Sunday. Aside from that, I'm just not sure how effective he is as a CDM anymore.
Andy's rating: 5 - Palmer gets bonus points this week for resisting the temptation to shoot from 40 yards out. He lost his man on the goal because of Smith's flubbed clearance, but other than that, more of what we've seen from him, organizing the midfield defense and keeping the opposition attack from developing in the middle of the pitch.
Played well with the offense and, as usual, created plenty of chances. Really he was just missing a few steps here or a bit too much power there to really be on the scoreboard for an assist.
Ryan's rating: 5 - Played well defensively and tracked back well but was just missing that final pass/shot to capitalize in the dangerous areas.
Where was he all night? It's surprising even me to give him this low of a ranking, but I can't, for the life of me, remember anything significant that he did.
Andy's rating: 3 - Simply not playing with a quality that comes close to matching his ability.
Kris Boyd: 8
Ask and ye shall receive. Boyd might not have gotten a goal himself, but he got his name on the two that put the Timbers up both times. While the second goal was technically an own goal for Chicago, there was no way that would have happened had Boyd not gotten his head on it first.
Ryan's rating: 8 - With Nagbe invisible for most of the match Boyd was double and triple teamed but he still got two opportunities for Portland and that is what made the difference in this game.
Sal Zizzo: 8
Super sub of the match! Once again Sal came on in the second half and just ripped the Chicago wingers apart with his runs. He was consistently dangerous and stemmed much of the build up that Chicago would have mounted otherwise. Great game for him.
Andy's rating: 7 - Bringing Zizzo into the game completely changed the team's dynamic, put Chicago on their back foot and prevented the kind of dangerous opportunities that came all too often in the first half.
An odd choice, but one that served well for Spencer as he successful through off the Fire's defense and killed off the game effectively.
Ryan's rating: 5 - Did a great job killing the game off because of his speed and ability to track down "lost balls" and for that he gets a decent score.
What did you guys think of the game on Sunday? Anything you'd change for Saturday's Cascadia Cup match?