With Ryan Johnson putting in two goals and a number of all-action performances coming all over the pitch, picking a Man of the Match from yesterday's game is not easy.
So, who was the Timbers' stand-out player in the team's first win of the season? Here are our votes:
Geoff: Mikael Silvestre
It was a tough call. I could have easily chosen any number of other Timbers players for this game, but in the end I gotta give it to the guy who lead the defense to their first shut out of the season. Really the entire back line deserves high praise and I even thought about making Jack Jewsbury my MoTM, but Silvestre really stood out to me tonight. Without him I think we have a very different result. Throughout the first half, before the attack really started clicking, it was Silvestre who made save after save, tackle after tackle that kept Houston's chances minimized as much as possible. Hats off to him, he's come a long ways since his first game against the New York Red Bulls.
Ryan: Diego Chara
He was everywhere and did a little of everything. He tracked back to disrupt the Houston attacks and once the ball was won he had great combination play with Nagbe, R. Johnson and Kalif. His cross to Ryan Johnson was one of the best crosses this year. Houston did not have an answer for him.
Andy: Diego Chara
There were quite a few excellent performances to choose from, and certainly it's tough not to give the MOTM to the brace scorer. But Chara had arguably his best match of the year on Saturday, which is encouraging in part because of how much of an improvement it was over recent matches. He returned to his usual fighting form, turning the ball over just five times and winning the ball over and over again. But his pièce de résistance was a sublime cross to Ryan Johnson right in front of goal. I don't know if there's a word equivalent to "golazo" that refers to assists (assistazo?), but if there is, that was it.
Stacey: Michael Harrington
The whole back line could really be the Men of the Match, but I'm singling out Michael Harrington because he's been my runner up pretty much every week. He's a hard worker, but certainly not because he's short on talent--he has plenty of that too. Last night he showed great awareness on defense and unfortunately for Houston, it was often Harrington getting on the end of their crosses and cut backs, instead of one of their own players. On the attack, Harrington combined well with Rodney Wallace and made great runs to open up space for him, ensuring that the right side of Houston's defense had lots to focus on.
Will: Ryan Johnson
The Timbers defense bent but did not break and the midfield held the ball and controlled the tempo of the game. It was Ryan Johnson, though, who put away two goals in the team's first winning effort of the season. Of course, Johnson's impact was not limited to those two moments (although they were his only shots). A workhorse up top, Ryan Johnson was consistently harrying defenders, forcing back passes, and pressuring Tally Hall in goal.
There are our picks, but what are yours? Vote in the poll below and let us know why in the comments.