Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
The Portland Timbers failed to contain the Italian-influenced counter attack of the Montreal Impact in last night's 2-1 loss. However, there were some positive performances by individual Timbers.
It wasn't a great performance overall from my perspective (Timbers Army) so in the end I have to give it to the goal scorer. Montreal's defense was rock solid all night long and it took an impressive run/slide by Ryan to finally pull one back for the Timbers. It was a tough loss for the club, and the fans certainly deserve better, but at least he was able to make something of that game.
Without Ricketts Portland would have easily lost 3 or 4 to one. His save on Di Vaio is easily Save of the Week material and his double save late in the game could also make the list. The two goals that did find their way into the net can not be blamed on Ricketts although some may want to blame him. A goal does not always mean the goal keeper failed, but it does mean the team failed. In the end without Ricketts the Timbers do not have a chance at tying the game late.
Nagbe was winning balls, setting up attacks, making runs, and taking shots. It's a shame that so few of them actually made it to the keeper, several of them being blocked by defenders, but he showed that striker mentality much more than he did last week, and that's what we need to see more of out of him. He should also have had an assist for the equalizer if Valencia had been able to do a better job of testing Troy Perkins.
When Montreal's great defensive shape was causing tons of problems for the Timbers, it highlighted how imported Chara is for gaining and maintaining possession. He had several tackles, recoveries, and interceptions in the midfield, all while conceding only a single foul. He had by the most passes and most successful passes of the night and when the attack was running out of options in the face of a tough Montreal defense, you could see them looking for Chara at the top of the box to settle things down and get them restarted.
EDIT: So, this account is pretty factually incorrect. That is what happens when you workthe morning after the game and write a post while on your lunch break after getting three hours of sleep (dang daylight savings time). However, I believe that the sentiment of it stands. Forgive me. -Will
Ricketts big save on Marco Di Vaio was a microcosm of the Timbers' issues last night: after giving up a corner kick the Timbers just milled about, taking their time to figure out who was marking who and remonstrating with each other over who was at fault for the corner being given up. Montreal, meanwhile, were busy actually taking the corner and Di Vaio streaked through the static Timbers defense for a free header on goal. Ricketts miraculously turned away the shot, knocking the ball out of play for another corner and buying the time for his teammates to get organized. Ricketts kept the Timbers in the game, but unlike on the second corner kick the team never quite got themselves together.
Those are our picks for the Man of the Match, but who is yours? Vote in the poll below and give us your thoughts in the comments.
Who was your Man of the Match?
Donovan Ricketts (45 votes)
Ryan Miller (4 votes)
Andrew Jean-Baptiste (31 votes)
Mikael Silvestre (1 vote)
Michael Harrington (12 votes)
Diego Chara (34 votes)
Diego Valeri (5 votes)
Will Johnson (3 votes)
Kalif Alhassan (1 vote)
Ryan Johnson (19 votes)
Darlington Nagbe (42 votes)
Ben Zemanski (7 votes)
Rodney Wallace (0 votes)
Jose Adolfo Valencia (0 votes)
204 total votes