Portland Timbers Postscript: Meltdown

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Timbers' momentum, unbeaten streak, and excellent form all come to a grinding halt as the team collapses in a 4-2 loss to Real Salt Lake.

By the Numbers

78.53%

Portland Timbers' average passing accuracy over the course of the season

70%

Timbers' passing accuracy in the first leg against Real Salt Lake

Bonus fact: In the regular season, this would be the Timbers' second lowest passing accuracy. Their lowest--66%--was in the final home game against Real Salt Lake.

86.36%

Diego Chara's average passing accuracy during the regular season

85.45%

Darlington Nagbe's average passing accuracy during the regular season

84.92%

Will Johnson's average passing accuracy during the regular season

77.78%

Chara's passing accuracy Sunday night

81.82%

Nagbe's passing accuracy Sunday night

63.64%

Johnson's passing accuracy Sunday night

2

The number of teams, out of 11 who lost by 2+ goals in the first leg, who came back to win the series

(since 2003 and the beginning of the the aggregate goals rule)

Bonus fact: Jack Jewsbury scored the winning goal for SKC in one of those games.

(Thanks to Chris Rifer and Mike Donovan for those)

Moment(s) of the Match

This match was a little short on good moments for the Timbers. One moment, or rather string of moments, that set the tone for the match was the period from Will Johnson's free kick goal to Real Salt Lake's first goal of the match. By their own admission, the Timbers basically stopped playing when when they scored first. They were outplayed by RSL from one end of the field to the other.

Real Salt Lake seemed to get more and more dangerous on the attack, and after a couple close calls, anyone watching could pretty much feel a goal coming. When it did come, there was no stopping Real Salt Lake until they scored three more.

The two teams' different responses to that first goal set the tone for most of the rest of the match. Much like their last match at Rio Tinto Stadium, it was like once the Timbers lost their footing a little, there was no getting it back. They were in free fall.

If there was truly a positive Moment of the Match for the Timbers, it was Frederic Piquionne's late goal. Even with a second leg left to play, a 4-1 would have all but eliminated the Timbers. You have to believe even the team--even though they have big hearts and brass balls--may have started to think, at least somewhere in the back of their minds, that the season was over.

A two-goal deficit is still quite a hole to dig out of, but that late goal certainly makes it seem a bit more doable. Hopefully it gives them Timbers some hope, something positive to draw on as they prepare for the second leg. Goodness knows they'll need a positive attitude, among other things.

Injuries and Bookings

There didn't appear to be any new injuries for the Timbers, though Diego Valeri once again left the match earlier than most would like to see him go. For RSL, Chris Wingert left the match in the first half after apparently hurting his ribs when he went in for a rough and reckless challenge on Valeri.

Second-half sub Jose Adolfo Valencia earned the lone yellow card of the match.

Houston Dynamo 0:0 Sporting Kansas City

It was a much quieter first leg over in the Eastern Conference, where Houston and Kansas City finished 90 minutes exactly how they started. Sporting Kansas City had more chances, though Houston probably had the better ones, most notably a goal that was called back on a very tight offside call. Kansas City should be in good shape heading back home to Sporting Park, but if the Conference Semifinals are an indication, Houston could be saving their best performances for the road.

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