Portland Timbers @ New York Red Bulls Player Ratings: Zizzo Edition

HARRISON, NJ - AUGUST 19: David Horst #12 of the Portland Timbers runs a drill before the start of their a Major League Soccer game against the New York Red Bulls on August 19, 2012 at Red Bull Arena. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

I'm doing something a little different with this week's player ratings. Instead of adding my own, I'll be using just my fellow editor's opinions. The unfortunate truth is that I'm in my last week of classes at PSU and I just don't have the usual hour-hour and a half or so it takes me to craft these articles what with all my looming projects coming up. So, I apologize for the abbreviated player ratings and please note that we'll return to normal next week.

With that said, the game against the New York Red Bulls was, if nothing else, an exciting affair and one player, to me, stood out: Sal Zizzo. To honor his contributions to the game, I decided to name this week's edition after him. Keep it up Sal!

Starting XI

Donovan Ricketts: 4

Andy: That double save he pulled off in the second half was pretty amazing, and the first two goals were far from his fault. The third, one, on the other hand... well, he had a mostly good night. Oh, and his distribution was a step down from his debut.

Kosuke Kimura: 6

Andy: The fullbacks had a decent game, and when you consider all the ground he had to cover, Kimura actually did pretty well, including an impressive pass in front of Zizzo that set up Dike's goal. It's a shame, then, that he got elbowed in the face.

David Horst: 3

Ryan: Horst is a lot like a yo-yo, he has a lot of ups and downs. These ups and downs make it hard for the other defenders because they have to wonder if they need to go cover for Horst and this creates indecision and then mistakes.

Hanyer Mosquera: 4

Andy: Contributed some excellent clearances with his head, and he always seems to choose the right moments to step forward and intercept, but he too had an uncalled handball in the box.

Steven Smith: 5

Andy: Smith, too, had a decent game, although he was again stuck with covering for Songo'o's continuing defensive laxness. He provided another nearly perfect cross from inside the penalty area, which Wallace just couldn't quite redirect on goal.

Darlington Nagbe: 7

Andy: Good on Nagbe for getting his second goal in as many games, and for matching his solid performance against Toronto. He looks like he's finally asserting himself as the leader the team needs him to be, and he's doing it on a consistent basis. He's the guy making the runs, making the passes, and, yes, making the deft little touches that score goals. Yes, he still took that extra touch in the second half that denied him a brace, but just looking at his face when reacting to that missed opportunity will tell you he's no longer hanging his head -- he's figuring out how he's going to do it next time. Put simply, Nagbe is fun to watch again.

Jack Jewsbury: 6

Andy: If you ask me, a defensive midfielder is at his best (usually) when his name is not often called. That was definitely the case in New York. Jewsbury did what he needed to to cover his teammates' attacking movements and stuck a foot in when a clearance was needed. His presence allows the rest of the midfielders to get forward on counter attacks, which have been increasingly productive of late.

Diego Chara: 5

Andy: Another all-around solid performance, undone by a missed chance on goal and his 8th yellow card of the season. Yes, it was a weak call on a typical Kenny Cooper dive, but he has to know at this point that, fair or not, refs aren't going to give him the benefit of the doubt on those.

Sal Zizzo: 7

Andy: What's better than a goal? Two assists. My man of the match (just a hair's breadth ahead of Nagbe) added vision and footwork to the lightning quick speed he has in his arsenal. He and Chara are so incredibly dangerous on counter attacks now, and they're working together very effectively. Well, to a point. He too had a one-on-one chance versus the keeper, so I'm hoping all the players spend some time running that drill in training this week.

Bright Dike: 6

Ryan: He made the runs he needed to and "diked" a couple of opposing players. Also the goal helps.

Franck Songo'o: 5

Ryan: He is amazing going forward but completely hung Smith out to dry when he did not follow his runner which then turned into the first goal. He needs to be a little more attentive on the defense side.

Substitutes

Lovel Palmer: 4

Andy: Lovel actually did a pretty decent job covering for Kimura. Still not a great passer, though.

Mike Fucito: 3

Andy: After a solid performance in Toronto, Fucito's night was a bit of a letdown.

Rodney Wallace: 3

Andy: How many more chances does he get to shake off his rust?

--

So there you have it! Apologies once again for the abbreviated player ratings.

Any surprises? What were your player ratings for last weekend's game?

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