PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 31: Bright Dike #19 of Portland Timbers celebrates his goal against the Colorado Rapids on August 31, 2012 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
Well what do we have here? Could it be... should I say it? Oh what the hell, I'll say it. Could it be that the Portland Timbers have found themselves in the midst of a winning streak? I don't want tog et everybody's hopes up being that it's only two wins, both of which were at home, but I think it's safe to say that the Timbers' performance during those two games were markedly better than they were in the months since John Spencer left. Perhaps a bit of that Caleb Porter magic we've heard about is already starting to rub off on the team? That's the theory anyway.
In any case, it was a a solid three point victory and the first shut out for the Timbers in a long time. Good performance all around, but let's take a closer look at each individual player.
Ryan: He made the saves he needed to make but his distribution was not as good as it was the last few games. Great to see him get his first log slice though.
Will: Lining up against his old teammates, Kimura looked like he had something to prove against the Rapids and pushed forward well in support of Sal Zizzo. A solid part of a solid defensive effort despite a couple small defensive gaffs, this is the Kimura that the Timbers hoped that they were getting.
David Horst: 7
Ryan: Man of the match for me, he usually work rate was there but this time there was no glaring error. His physical presence really helped keep Casey in check for most of the game.
Will: Mosco dominated in the air and did well to contain the mercurial Omar Cummings. Much more reserved in his play than Horst, Mosco controlled the center of the pitch and provided cover when needed.
Steven Smith: 6
Will: Smith was less able to get forward than he was against Vancouver, but he put in a stout defensive effort. Although he was beaten on the Rapids' best chance of the night, Smith locked down the left side until late in the game when the Rapids kept him under pressure for extended periods.
Will: Although he had less success on the night than in the last few outings, Nagbe was still central to the Timbers attack. His run in behind the defense shortly after Dike's goal was another example of the threat he brings when playing out of the midfield.
Ryan: The switch from box to box midfielder too a more defensive mid has really paid for Jewsbury and the Timbers. He also does well picking when to join the attack and when to sit back.
Diego Chara: 6
Will: Chara covered ground, tackled everything in sight, and didn't even get carded. That said, the Timbers looked decidedly less comfortable in possession with Chara on the pitch than they did last week.
Sal Zizzo: 6
Ryan: He absolutely torched Wahl all night and it forced Colorado to have multiple people on that side of the field to help defend Zizzo. He still uses speed to beat people and this used to be the only thing he did but now we also see he can help in the possession game.
Bright Dike: 6
Will: Dike wreaked havoc on the Colorado back line, coming close on several occasions before finally getting on the end of Zizzo's cross. His touch could have been better, but Dike is showing that he can compete for a starting spot after being in danger of becoming irrelevant to the roster earlier in the year.
Will: While Songo'o still looked dangerous from his wing position, his love of taking on defenders got him into trouble time and again as he elected to dribble rather than making the easy pass. Songo'o did have one excellent ball in to Darlington Nagbe that nearly got the Timbers their second goal of the game, but overall he was ineffective on the night.
Eric Alexander: 4
Will: Looked good defensively and in holding possession until Wallace came on.
Will: Got in Alexander's way and gave up the ball a lot. Not a good showing from Wallace.
Kris Boyd: N/A
Will: I get the feeling that this is about what we are going to see form Boyd for the remainder of the season: the occasional cameo as the Timbers try to poach a late goal.
And there you have it. Aside from the substitutes the entire team got relatively high marks.
Thoughts? Comments? Agree? Disagree? What are your player ratings for the team?