RECAP: The Portland Timbers Finally Get a PK and Earn a Point

USA TODAY Sports

Once again starting slow, the Portland Timbers gave up the early goal while battling the elements in the first half. The second half started just as poorly, but Portland battled back and earned a PK and the draw.

Portland played one of their worst halves of the season in the first half, and it looked like it would be another dismal performance at The Dick. The first indication that it could be a rough day came on a free kick in the third minute for the Colorado Rapids. Jack Jewsbury was easily beaten to the ball by 19 year old rookie Shane O'Neill, and his looping header towards the back post kissed the inside of the post. The ball then bounced right to an onrushing Tony Cascio, who was in the giving mood, and his shot too went off the woodwork.

At this point all of us were probably thinking the same thing, "Oh no! Not again!" While it didn't get worse from there it most certainly did not get better. Portland couldn't string more than 5 passes together, and their giveaways were unforced. Credit to Colorado as they squeezed Portland's CBs and forced them to either play a tough short pass or hit the long ball, and usually they made the wrong decision.

As the slow start continued, the requisite early opposition goal was scored in the 18th minute. Colorado won a throw-in deep in Portland's half after a bad clearance by Donovan Ricketts. Colorado threw it in deep towards the corner and then played it back up the wing and into the middle of the pitch. Portland had 4 players near the ball when it was in the corner but no one was marking Dillion Powers 25 yards away from goal.

Powers hit the perfect strike from 25 yards out to beat Ricketts and put his team on top. The Portland defenders were slow to react to the throw-in and in closing down Powers, but sometimes you have to tip your hat and give a player props for a perfect strike. Usually the first goal shocks the Timbers into action, but not this time as the Colorado continued to put Portland under pressure.

Portland was barely able to escape the first half without giving up the second goal.

Second Half

The Dick nightmare continued when one minute after play resumed Portland was called for a "foul" in the box. The foul was supposedly called on Diego Chara for stepping on Cascio's foot as he tried to lunge to block the shot. Deshorn Brown turned to look at the Ref as if to complain about the foul called on Cascio and showed surprise when the Ref pointed to the spot.

Portland did pick their heads up, taking the PK call as a slap to the face. Chara won a free kick 45 yards away from goal near the touchline. Colorado was able to win the Diego Valeri's long ball into the box but they were unable to clear it past Jewsbury, who played the ball out wide to Michael Harrington. Harrington played the ball up the wing to Ryan Johnson, and, using Harrington's run down the line to create space, he turned towards the center of the field and hit a great cross.

Johnson's cross found Will Johnson wide open in the box, and his header was perfectly placed at the base of the near post and into the back of the net. Portland immediately grabbed the ball and ran back to the center circle as if to say "Game on!"

Portland may have felt like they had another goal or two in them, but Coloardo looked like they had another in them too. Colorado almost had their third of the night when Portland was only able to clear a corner to the top of their box. O'Neill's subsequent shot was palmed over the bar by a sprawling Ricketts.

Portland came into this game having not been awarded a penalty since the very last game of 2011, a span of 37 games. In the 69th minute on a corner kick, David Horst worked his way around Atiba Harris and would have had a wide open header. Harris, knowing he was beaten, first pulled Horst's shirt and then flung his leg out to try and kick the ball, but instead kicked Horst right in the stomach. Both of his actions caused Horst to head the ball straight into the ground.

If it was 2012, Portland would not have heard the whistle, but this is a new season and Portland had enough Karma built up with the soccer gods to finally get that elusive PK call. Once a PK has been awarded the next step is to actually put it away. Will Johnson took the PK to make sure Portland wouldn't miss their first PK in 38 games as he hit a hard shot well away from the Keeper and into the goal.

After Portland's PK goal the game there were not many chances for either team to grab the winning goal and the score ended 2-2.

Observations

  • With Jewsbury in the line-up our offense seems anemic; I would love to see the 4-3-3 that we used against New York.
  • While I love the heart and the ability to fight back after being down, I want to see the Timbers actually play with a a lead.
  • Without Mikael Silvestre, the passing ability of our CB's goes down exponentially
  • The Timbers could not find Valeri and get him involved in the offense much, but when they did, good things actually happened.
  • Chara was looked awful at times, but he covered for a lot of mistakes by the back line.
  • This team is still one off-season away from being Porter's team.
  • Will Johnson was Portland's offense tonight: two goals and four of the teams 9 shots.
  • I suspect the 70% passing accuracy had a lot to do with how windy it was.
  • VIA @Shawnlevy: Aggregate scores of 1st 4 games under each manager: Spencer 4-7; Gavin 3-12; Porter 7-8. (I will take that)
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