PORTLAND, OR - MAY 05: The Portland Timbers pose for a photo during a game against the Columbus Crew at Jeld-Wen Field on May 5, 2012 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
One of my primary complaints heading into the game last Saturday was the fact that I was simply tired of writing the same stuff over and over again. Much to my delight then, the Portland Timbers certainly did not fail to give me what I wanted as they drew Columbus here at home. Unfortunately, a draw is still pretty disappointing, especially from a bottom dwelling Eastern Conference team like Columbus.
So, while the performances overall were a notch or two above what we saw against the Montreal impact last week, there's still a bit left to be desired out of a team we all expect to make the play-offs this year.
Let's see how each player performed:
Troy Perkins: 8
Great game for Perkins, one of his best this year in fact. I think many of us, and probably the Crew themselves were expecting him to be shaken after his injury last week. If anything he proved the opposite.
Andy's Rating: 9
My man of the match, Perk gets a 7 just for making one save of the week candidate and pulling off another amazing stop that wasn't technically a save but certainly prevented a goal. He gets two more points for doing it a week after having his left nostril ripped off.
With the way this season has been going and with the performance of both Jewsbury and our right back situation, I'm wondering why this combination didn't happen sooner. Bottomline... keep Jack Jewsubry as a right back and we'll all be better for it.
Ryan's Rating: 6
Did well to shut down Eddie Gaven and was better defensively then other right backs.
Futty Danso: 7
Great first game for Futty. He seemed to take the added stress of needing points with a cool calmness that I really enjoyed. Also enjoyed the partnership between him and Hanyer Mosquera.
Will's Rating: 6
Made a ton of tackles and interceptions and looked much more likely to get on the end of a free kick than anyone else on the pitch no matter what end of the field it was on.
Hanyer Mosquera: 6
Another solid performance from the Colombian. As a player who, I thought, struggled in pre-season and with injuries early on he's really coming into his own.
Andy's Rating: 6
Futty praised Mosco's leadership at the back, which is indeed awesome, but there's still something I feel like I want to see from him.
Mike Chabala: 4
Definitely the weak spot in the back line, which is a shame because up until now I thought Chabala was playing fairly well. For just one game, I would like the defensive back line to be in harmony instead of a weak link cropping up.
Will's Rating: 5
At first bad passing held Chewie back, but as he found the rhythm of the game he was able to combine well.
Good game for Wallace as well. His elevation to the midfield was a little unexpected for this game, but turned out to be a welcome surprise. I really enjoy his aggressiveness and I think it pays off far more as a mid winger than a left back.
Ryan's rating: 8
Man of the Match for me. Was super aggressive going forward and tracked back to help defensively.
Lovel Palmer: 3
I barely remember Palmer being in this game. In fact, the one thing I do remember was a pretty sloppy tackle and another where he would stop showing off some cleat marks in his ribs. I'm really not sure why Palmer is still starting. I don't like to berate somebody, but Palmer needs to be more consistent.
Andy's Rating: 5
I give him credit for maintaining a great defensive presence in the middle of the field, and for enthusiastically pointing out the referee's limitations. He had a much better idea of what he needed to do and did it well enough.
Diego Chara: 6
Chara played just how we expected. He ran around a lot, box-to-box and put pressure where needed in order to slow Columbus down. I'd have liked to see his attacking edge a bit more than we did. Also, he made a couple really sloppy tackles... just "face-palm" awful tackles.
Andy's rating: 4
Ran himself into the ground with his brand of box-to-box play, and very nearly escaped without an ejection for all his tackles from behind. He needs to do better at picking his moments.
This guy was amazing in pre-season and his vision and technical skills are clearly there, but he continues to struggle to prove it on the field. Where is that Songo'o? I'm hoping it's still just overall fitness issues.
Will's rating: 5
Songo'o showed off some amazing footskills but at times seemed to be more interested in complaining to the ref than in getting back on defense (the David Beckham special).
Kris Boyd: 3
Not much from Boyd tonight. He got his head on a few balls and took a few shots but they didn't really go anywhere. Granted some of this could also have been due to Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum having a great night, but I'm mostly leaning towards the Crew's defense having figured out how Boyd plays, and that's not something we want. He needs to mix it up a bit more.
Andy's rating: 4
It's really not fair, considering the way the defenders were playing him all game, but goals are the best revenge, and he failed to take advantage of his numerous opportunities. And yes, six shots constitute numerous opportunities.
I feel bad giving Nagbe a rating below 5, but I just don't feel like he deserves anything higher. I'm not doubting his work ethic because I think it's amongst the best in the league, but he struggles with being consistent and that's something we absolutely need from him. If he's going to keep playing up top, I want to see more goals scored.
Will's rating: 7
Nagbe looked good in the first half but great in the second. When he was able to turn and run at the defense the Timbers had chances. Not only did Nagbe get several shots on goal, but he also picked up four fouls, three of which were just outside the Crew box. If the Timbers' shots were only a little but more well placed, Nagbe would be the player of the week. But they weren't.
Eric Alexander: 5
Decent substitute I thought. Took him a little while to get his first touch on the ball, I thought he added as time drew on. Definitely prefer him as a starter though. A super sub he is not.
Will's rating: 4
Not great out there. Like Songo'o, Alexander does not do well as a sub. Unfortunately for him, he was a sub. Although he did not do poorly, he did have some issues stringing together passes and the team's attack suffered for it.
Mike Fucito: N/A
Came on a bit too late to really make an impact, as such, I won't rank him. Still he was feisty and his heart was definitely in it. Definitely can't fault him for that.
John Spender: 6
Really enjoyed the new line up and I thought it definitely paid off defensively. Bringing Jewsbury to the right back position is probably the best thing he's done tactically all year and it helped tremendously. I still want to see him trying somebody else other than Lovel Palmer though.
Andy's rating: 4
I applaud the changes he made to the lineup, particularly in putting Wallace in the midfield. But the team still looks like it has forgotten how to score. I think they're making progress, but until we start scoring again I can't give Spencer anything higher than a five.
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.
What do you guys think? Let's hear those comments!