PORTLAND, OR - JUNE 24: The Portland Timbers celebrate their 2-1 victory against the Seattle Sounders after their game on June 24, 2012 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon.(Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
During the week leading up the Cascadia Cup, I generally wrote with a single, prominent theme. That theme being that rivalry games are not like regular season games. Lo' and behold, what we got what a thrilling 2-1 affair that saw our Portland Timbers side play an oft dominating performance that managed to actually score during the run of play.
There was a lot of fans depressed about the possible outcomes, but, true to the spirit of a rivalry, the Portland Timbers managed to deliver big. Let's just hope it carries on into the rest of the season.
On to individual player ratings!
Troy Perkins: 8
He came up big for a number of shots, particularly off of Osvaldo Alonso and, for that, he earns high marks. The one goal he did allow in would have been nearly impossible for any keeper to get, as it was just one of those goals.
Ryan's rating: 7 - Made two good saves on long distance shots but had little to do because of the great defense in front of him. His distribution seemed to be better with none of his kicks going out of bounds.
Jack Jewsury: 5
Jewsbury was serviceable, but not altogether a game maker or breaker. We didn't see him track as far up the offense as often as we're used to from our fullbacks, but maybe that's a good thing.
Andy's rating: 6 - Jewsbury didn't have the toughest job keeping Alex Caskey quiet, and indeed he succeeded in that primary task. He played a steady part in the attack as well, helping keep possession backing up Alhassan very well.
David Horst: 7
Solid defending by Horst was a welcome sight after what we witnessed the weekend before against the LA Galaxy. He really came up strong for the Timbers for the Cascadia Cup match. Also a goal certainly helps his score. Then again, he also let Eddie Johnson knock one home as well...
Ryan's rating: 6 - Would have been higher if he had been able to recover after his mistake. His work rate as a defender was amazing as he continually shut down Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero. If he is our 4th option at CB we are in really good shape at that position.
Futty Danso: 8
Another solid night from Futty. I was really worried when neither Hanyer Mosquera, nor Eric brunner were going to be able to play tonight, but Futty commanded the back line just as well as either of them.
Andy's rating: Futty: 8 - All those crosses coming in from the flanks met his golden dome time after time as he always seemed to position himself perfectly on defense.
Steven Smith: 9
Damn close to MOTM for me. Steven Smith played the best game of his season so far and really showed what he can do. I'm not sure what it was -- the Cascadia Cup match, his being married now, or finally just gelling with the team -- but he cranked the dial and continually assist on the attack and defense at the same time. Not sure I've seen Mauro Rosales so muted in MLS before.
Ryan's rating: 9 - Not sure what he could have done better to get the 10 but he was exactly what the Timbers need at the outside back positions. He joins the offense well and is able to handle the defensive side just as well. No player will ever play a perfect game but this game was a great game for Smith.
A decent game by Alhassan. His dribbling skills are still terrorizing MLS defenders, which is a good thing. But he still has this habit of taking it a bit too far as we saw against Seattle. Still, you gotta love him for his never-say-die attitude.
Andy's rating: 7 - He continues to be the only guy who can successfully dribble at people and still keep possession, and he scares the crap out of defenders in doing so. But he got away with some lax play defensively, giving Marc Burch loads of space and time to consider his crosses.
Diego Chara: 10
Man of the match for me, and easily the Timbers most effective player right now. He was everywhere on the field last Sunday and he was continually giving Seattle's best player, Alonso, trouble in the midfield. Without him, this game looks very different. He wasn't perfect, but no player ever is, but he absolutely changed the way Seattle played.
Ryan's rating: 8 - The battle between Alonso and Chara was amazing to watch. It was back and forth all day and each can cover so much ground. Chara won the individual battle and it helped Portland win the game.
Nagbe didn't have a terrible game, but he wasn't great either. We're still lacking the creativity we all expect out of him and he's not scoring goals like he promised. While he held up the ball, controlled it a bit, and contributed on some meaningful runs, overall he was ineffective in what we need from him. At this point, I'm questioning where he fits in on the team.
Andy's rating: 4 - Nagbe again failed to be the connection between the midfield and the strikers. His patented hesitation with the ball is well known throughout the league at this point; when he's on the ball, opposing midfielders swarm like flies on poop. In my opinion he needs some time to work on his game before he's given another start.
Songo'o continually looks sharper and more focuses on the pitch than in his early games. His set pieces are looking great and he has that killer vision to skirt around defenses and put the ball in a dangerous position. If he can keep playing like this, we may see Rodney Wallace take a back seat for another second half of a season.
Ryan's rating: 7 - Now that is the Songo'o we have been waiting to see! His set-pieces are so dangerous and his ability to get a pass off in tight spaces is amazing. The Smith Songo'o partnership will only get better as Smith told me he has only played with Songo'o on his side 5 or 6 times in practice.
Mike Fucito: 6
There was a lot of pressure on Fucito to score in the game and, truthfully, he wasn't that far off. One thing he definitely proved on the pitch was that Portland is his home now and Seattle is every bit the enemy we all know they are. While I'd like to see him contribute a goal or so this season, it was certainly a memorable experience for all of us.
Andy's rating: 6 - His first start was no doubt a memorable one for him, and he worked hard to put pressure on the Seattle defense the whole time he was on the pitch. I had no idea how strong he is. Seriously strong. I'm looking forward to seeing him start again during the 3-game week next week, which will almost certainly happen at least once.
Kris Boyd: 8
Got the goal. Mission accomplished. What more is there to say about Boyd except that he didn't score more goals? Honestly, he had a great game. He shouted in Montero's face, got the shots needed and contributed on the scoreboard. This is exactly what we want and need from our big target forward.
Ryan's rating: 7 - His positioning in and around the box is truly amazing and he does so much better when he actually gets quality service to him.
Sal Zizzo: 7
Zizzo came on and was exactly what the doctor ordered for a side that was struggling to hold back the Seattle tide. He held the ball when needed, and rushed at their defenders otherwise. Without him coming on a sub, I wonder if this game doesn't have a different outcome.
Andy's rating: 6 - Did his job well enough on defense and stretched Seattle vertically in the late stages of the game. That's what you want. I'd still like to see him combine better with teammates and actually create some real scoring chances, though.
Danny Mwanga: 5
First home game for Mwanga so it will certainly be a memorable experience for him. Unfortunately, his contributions weren't as memorable as perhaps the other attacking players. But, then again, he came on during a time when Seattle were dominating the pitch and he never really received the service he needs.
Ryan's rating: 5 - Did show signs of good things to come if he continues to get playing time with Boyd. Hopefully he can anticipate Smith's crosses better as they get used to each other. He also filled in at the CM role once Palmer was red carded admirably.
Lovel Palmer: 1
Completely ineffectual and completely worthless late in the game. His only notable "contribution" was an unnecessary elbow in the back of a Seattle player that got him red carded.
Andy's rating: 2 - His two contributions: (1) skying a 0-percentage shot miles over the goal and thereby giving up possession late in the game, and (2) getting himself ejected. He gets two points for the latter.
What did you guys think of last week's Cascadia Cup match? How would you rank the players?