By all rights the not-quite-last place Timbers should be happy with a road draw against the top team in the league, but last night's tie against the San Jose Earthquakes felt like a loss. Like in New York only a few weeks ago, the Timbers went up 2-0 only for the wheels to come off in the second half as San Jose fought back.
Going by the performances in the first half of the match, any number of players could be the Man of the Match. Danny Mwanga, whose brace gave the team hope for their first road win, Franck Songo'o, who pulled the strings of the midfield and tormented the San Jose defense with his dribbling, or Steven Smith, who time and again broke up San Jose scoring chances just as they were coming to fruition, could all be given the nod. Then the second half happened.
Andy - Franck Songo'o
By far the most dangerous Timber on the field for the full 90 minutes was Franck the Tanck. He defiantly bulldozed his way past foul after foul, setting up Danny Mwanga for his second goal and very nearly assisting the winner in the last minute of stoppage time. Cronin, Bernardez, Opara -- none of them had anything on Songo'o all night.
Check out the rest of our Man of the Match picks and vote on your own after the jump.
Will - Danny Mwanga
When you score a brace it is going to take something special for you to not be my Man of the Match. Mwanga's two goals were both well taken but, while the second might make the highlight reels this week, it was his first tally on the night that has stuck with me. How many times have we seen a Timbers player in one on one with the keeper this season only for their shot to be right at the goalie? To see Mwanga just step around Jon Busch and slot the ball home was a thing of beauty.
Ryan - Danny Mwanga
Danny needs to convince himself he is playing against San Jose every game because 3 goals in 2 games against them in a Timber Kit is the kind of production this team needs. Danny was amazing tonight and scored on the two scoring opportunities he had which is a great thing to see. He even played defense once Gavin switched to a 4-5-1 until he was subbed off. Now I want to see Mwanga up top in the 4-3-3 instead of Dike or even as the false 9 he was playing at the end of the Seattle match.
Geoff - Danny Mwanga
Everybody has been saying that now is the time for players to convince the front office and Caleb Porter (who is definitely watching) that they deserve to stick around for next season. Two strikers started the game last night who haven't perhaps shown their quality of late, but only one proved that he has what it takes. That player was Danny Mwanga who scored a very convincing brace against the league leaders last night. He still needs to show that he can do this consistently, but he at least showed that the potential is still there.
There are our picks for Man of the Match, but what are yours? Be sure to cast your vote and let us know why in the comments.