After a hugely important match between two teams that left everything on the pitch it is difficult to pick out a player who stood out above the rest. The Portland Timbers put in the effort across the pitch in their 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders, but who was the team's Man of the Match? Vote in the poll below.
Will - Darlington Nagbe
It took him a few minutes to find his rhythm, but once Nagbe was on his game he controlled the proceedings. Seattle brought pressure quickly and effectively for much of the game, but Nagbe's uncanny skill with the ball saw him hold possession no matter the situation. Completing 42 of 46 passes, one of which was a headed clearance in stoppage time, on the night also went a long way toward the Timbers' success.
Strangely, though, it may actually have been Nagbe's defensive work that made him stand out the most as he doggedly marked Oswaldo Alonso in the center of the pitch, keeping him from making the splitting passes forward that have opened up many Sounders opponents.
Ryan - Donovan Ricketts
It is hard for me not to give it to Darlington Nagbe or Kalif Alhassan but Ricketts had two huge saves to ensure Portland earned the full three points. His save in the first half helped Portland weather the early storm and set the tone for the rest of the game. Overall this win was more of a team effort with all of the Timbers putting forth the effort to earn all three points.
Stacey - Kalif Alhassan
Alhassan has pretty big shoes to fill every time he fills in for Diego Valeri. He didn't really play Valeri's game last night, but he did play his own game exceptionally well. His quick passing with Nagbe in the midfield was too much for Seattle, even for the pair of wrecking balls they had in Osvaldo Alonso and Adam Moffat. He did his work on the defensive side of things too, helping Urruti press high to make it hard for Seattle to work the ball forward, and picking up seven recoveries. He--and the whole team--maybe got a little lucky when that ball bounced right back to Alhassan, but he was in the right place and he pounced on that loose ball. You make your own luck sometimes.
Andy - Darlington Nagbe
Man of the Match was Darlington Nagbe for me. It's hard not giving MOTM to Alhassan, because that was definitely his best performance in a Timbers kit. But Nagbe may also have had one of his best matches of his career. In a game in which the Sounders were clearly directed to foul the hell out of him, he took their abuse in stride and finished the game with 42 successful passes and 12 recoveries. And the way he and Kalif moved the ball around in the attacking third towards the end of the first half was just magical.
There are our picks, but what are yours? Vote in the poll below and let us know why in the comments.