Portland Timbers Postscript: Making Winning Look Easy

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly didn't look like the first win of the season for the Portland Timbers. After an injury-marred and goalless first half, Portland dominated the second and made winning look as routine as a walk in the rain.

By the Numbers


Number of days elapsed since the Timbers last won by two goals.*


Percent of Ryan Johnson's shots that have gone for goals this season.


Number of completed passes by Timbers players against the Houston Dynamo.


Number of Timbers players who completed at least 35 passes (as compared to Houston's zero).*


Factor by which Houston's best passer would have to be multiplied to match Michael Harrington's 72 successful passes.

* denotes stat provided by Mike Donovan

Moment of the Match

My moment of the match happened in the 46th minute, when the Timbers ran out to the north end of the pitch to start the second half, showing a different formation and a renewed energy. They switched from the first half's 4-3-3, with Rodney Wallace, Ryan Johnson and Kalif Alhassan playing as strikers, to a 4-4-2 that put Nagbe back into the striker position alongside Johnson and sent Wallace and Alhassan deeper to play on the wings.

In addition to allowing Nagbe to put additional pressure on the center of Houston's defense, it also added width to the midfield and made transitions more fluid. Diego Chara and Will Johnson were able to get higher up, and, with the relentless passing in the middle of the pitch, the Timbers were able to break the Dynamo down.

That rookie coach Caleb Porter was able to make these and other adjustments and outsmart the veteran Dominic Kinnear, without the use of a substitution, is a sign of good things to come this season and in future years.

Injuries and Bookings

As of the time of this post, we do not yet have updates on David Horst or Diego Valeri.

While chasing down Giles Barnes as he sped into the box, David Horst made an awkward stab at the ball with his right leg and fell badly on it, rolling his ankle and immediately grasping his knee in pain after landing. At this point it appears the injury was indeed sustained to his knee, but we do not yet know how serious it is; his history with MCL injuries has us fearing the worst.

Valeri's injury, meanwhile, looked awfully similar to the one sustained last year by Steve Purdy in Montreal -- an elbow to the face leading to fractured orbital and a concussion. Again, history does not favor the Timbers in this regard, having lost key players to concussions several times during the MLS era.

Mikael Silvestre added his name to the referee's book for the first time; he and four other Timbers sit at one yellow each, a safe distance from suspensions.

Around the League

Colorado Rapids 1:0 Real Salt Lake: Atiba Harris scored his first goal in forever in the fifth minute and that was all Colorado needed for their first win of 2013. Colorado Keeper Clint Irwin faced his third PK in as many matches and guessed right once again, this time pushing Saborio's shot to the post.

San Jose Earthquakes 1:1 Vancouver Whitecaps: The Quakes pushed relentlessly for an early goal, getting it in the 18th minute, and then promptly took their foot off the pedal. Vancouver leveled in the second half when two Quakes players voluntarily left the pitch to change their shoes.

Toronto FC 2:2 FC Dallas: Dallas dominated in the early going and held a 2-0 advantage late, but Toronto scored twice in the final seven minutes to equalize.

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