The Portland Timbers returned to play in Portland for the first time since last October and it was a beautiful sight to behold. While the defensive gaffes were glaring the Timbers put on one of the most exciting games I've seen since the team beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-nil at home in 2011. If this is the kind of performance we can expect on a regular basis under Caleb Porter's watchful eye then I'll be very happy.
Sunday's player ratings are a little more polarized than usual. Don't read more into it than what it is: a by-product of having two extremes lead the two different sides of the field. Defensively, the Timbers were woeful. They allowed Mike Fucito to score. That right there should make you cringe. On the other side, however, they were goal-scoring machines themselves. The combination of Diego Valeri and Ryan Johnson was a potent one indeed.
Enjoy the player ratings:
Ricketts - 4
Stacey: I'm still waiting to see the guy who was man of the match for Jamaica in Mexico. Ricketts looked completely flat-footed on the second San Jose goal, and probably should have done better. As it was, he really didn't even attempt a save. Additionally, he and our center backs need to get together and work on their distribution out of the back. Ricketts completely shanked a few of his kicks, sending them straight out of bounds.
Ryan Miller - 6
Stacey: Miller combined well with Alhassan to make the Timbers' attack very dangerous up the right side and nearly had an assist, but Jon Busch managed to parry away Will Johnson's diving header. He had a couple shaky moments on defense, but for once, right back was far from the weakest link in the back line
Andrew Jean-Baptiste - 3
Stacey: I'd like to give Mikael Silvestre a score of 8 or 9, because he looked great by virtue of not being out there Sunday night. Jean-Baptiste's inexperience was a lot more obvious than it ever was in the Tucson games. One could make an argument in his favor when it came to the PK call, but his defensive positioning leading up to that was shoddy. He was much too slow in closing down Fucito, which is silly since we all know Jean-Baptiste is not slow. He got off to a rough start and never really improved significantly.
Hanyer Mosquera - 2
Andy: As bad as people thought Andrew Jean-Baptiste played on Sunday night, I thought Mosco was worse. It says a lot when the back line looks more confident with the team's two most recent SuperDraft picks filling the CB roles. Whatever leadership and swagger he built last year seemed completely vacant against the Quakes. And I don't know what he was doing on Victor Bernardez's goal.
He did everything Caleb Porter asks of his fullbacks and his runs down the side opened up space for Nagbe to operate which directly influenced the play during Portland's second goal. Defensively nothing stands out and that is a good thing because it means he was in position and played well defensively.
Will Johnson - 6
Andy: His most notable offensive contribution was almost scoring on an impressive diving header early in the first half. His most important defensive contribution was helping his side keep possession for long stretches of the first half. But if he's going to continue to serve in the captain role, he needs to improve his leadership on defense, as the Quakes too easily found ways to break it down.
Diego Chara - 5
Geoff: Sort of a typical night for Diego Chara. He ran from box to box putting pressure where needed at times. The only issue he seemed to have Sunday night was staying visible. For long periods of time Chara would seemingly vanish and not be heard from for a while. This is not usual of Chara and hopefully it's not a trend under this new management style that supports more finesse than Chara's physicality.
Diego Valeri - 7
Stacey: Valeri was the guy setting things up all night long, assisting two of Johnson's goals and not shying away from taking a shot himself when he saw an opportunity. He got a little lackadaisical on some of his quick passes, including one weak pass early in the game that was picked off by San Jose and led to the penalty kick.
Kalif Alhassan - 7
Stacey: I'm praying hard for Alhassan to stay healthy and motivated. He was hyperactive on offense, his assist on the first goal was a great example of classic, awesome Alhassan play, and he put his fancy footwork to good use too. He surprised most though with the solid work he did on defense. Unfortunately, like Valeri, he got a little carried away with the one touch passing from time to time and sent some of his passes a little awry.
Darlington Nagbe - 7
Ryan: His play might not be as flashy as Kalif but his overall game has improved since his first year in the league. His defensive work rate and how he plays within the system are a big reason for that. Right now teams know about Nagbe and what he can do and this means he receives more attention than most of the other Timbers but that will change as the season progresses and you will see a lot more production out of Nagbe.
Ryan Johnson - 10
Will: If Johnson can put this sort of pressure on teams, on both offense and defense, during the regular season than the Timbers will be a team that is very hard for their opponents to deal with. Johnson finished his chances, put the San Jose defense under constant pressure, and kissed the badge in front of the Timbers Army after completing his hat-trick. What more could you ask for?
Andy: The defense looked somewhat more stable with DTG in for Mosquera, right up until he slide-tackled Diego Chara from behind, opening up space for Mike Fucito's goal. Still, he had a decent first 45 minutes on the big stage.
Will: Trencito lacks polish, is unwilling to come back into the defensive end of the pitch, and will probably never get into the double digits for passes in a game. Despite all that, he showed off just what he brings to the table in the game against San Jose where he ran into, over, and around defenders; created chances for himself off the dribble; and fought to win the ball back when it was turned over in San Jose's half. There is still a long way to go here, but Valencia has all the makings of a superior striker.
Sal Zizzo - 4
Will: The thing that we all know Sal can do, get past defenders by running fast, he did. The things adjacent to that, crossing, passing, and shooting, did not go so well for him. Alongside Trencito, Zizzo's introduction pushed the Timbers toward a more direct style of play and, although he put in some good defensive work, the game opened up for both sides because of that.
Rodney Wallace - 5
Ryan: Hard to rate Wallace and the other subs because of how the game looked after both teams made a good amount of subs. However Wallace in his midfield role got into some dangerous positions and had two good crosses which created one decent chance at goal.
Danny Mwanga - 4
Ryan: Danny looked a little lost and a step slow out there tonight compared to the two other forwards who played. Not sure if this is because of a lack of confidence or if it is a lack of being comfortable in the new system but he needs to improve upon last game's performance if he wants to see the field as the second striker.
Ben Zemanski - N/A
Ryan: It is too bad Ben came on late in the game because he was unable to show what he could bring to the Timbers and Caleb Porter's system.
What do you think of our player ratings? How well do you think each individual player did?