The Portland Timbers have no had an easy season so far. While their 11 game unbeaten streak is impressive, they've had to deal with a number of injuries that would set most teams way back in their run for the playoffs. So when the Timbers took to the field against D.C. United without their creative midfielder Diego Valeri, and without a veteran, experienced Timbers defender such as Futty Danso it was a bit of a worry. In truth, the team didn't play as well as we've grown accustom to, but that didn't stop them from scoring twice on the road and bringing home three points.
Here's their individual player ratings:
Ryan: There was not a lot to judge him on as DC failed to get most of their 17 shots on frame. His distribution, however, has improved since he has elected to throw the ball rather than kick it.
Andy: Jewsbury did not have his best game on Saturday. With yet another CB pairing in the lineup, Jewsbury should have focused on his role as a leader on the back line. Instead, it looked like he was trying to do too much.
Pa Modou Kah: 5
Will: Kah had a few early slip ups and several blown assignments, but on the whole it was an uneventful debut for the veteran defender, even if that was as much thanks to the play of DC as it was to Ka's contributions. What Ka did show, particularly as the game went on was leadership and a level head, exactly what he was brought in to provide.
Stacey: Jean-Baptiste and Kah looked a little scattered in the back at times, especially on the counterattack. That was somewhat to be expected from the new pairing, but AJB and the rest of the Timbers defense certainly had to make a few last ditch defensive plays (and were probably thanking their lucky stars for a couple of missed shots by DC United)
Michael Harrington - 5
Stacey: He had a lot of errant passes Saturday night and those overlapping runs just didn't seem to create space as effectively as they usually do, but he did well enough on the defensive side of things.
Andy: I keep remembering all the problems Nagbe used to have with his game -- not being able to handle the physicality of the league, not contributing on defense, not taking his shots well. On Saturday he seemed to have it all figured out -- I'd say he was the best player on the field.
Will Johnson: 7
Will: The smaller Johnson covered a lot of ground on Saturday, breaking up plays all over the pitch and making several dangerous runs into the DC box. It was only a few errant passes from Ryan Johnson that kept him from some excellent scoring chances.
Diego Chara: 6
Geoff: Chara was actually a bit more muted on the offense than we've grown accustom to recently. While he certainly had a part to play in Nagbe's goal, he made less of an impact overall up top. That said, with the now-unusual 4-4-2 formation and the weaker defensive backline, it probably should be too big of a surprise.
Rodney Wallace: 8
Will: Wallace was a constant danger to the United back line and, when he was given some space he made excellent use of it. However, while his goal was the highlight of his performance against DC, his constant pressure and defensive work made him an invaluable part of the night's win.
Ryan Johnson: 6
Ryan: In this game we saw a different role for RJ and it was one he filled admirably. Between Piquionne and RJ they completed three key passes, and 5 layoffs which lead to shots.
Andy: Few Timbers players are quite as effective off the ball as Piquionne, and he showed that most impressively in assisting Rodney Wallace's goal. But dang, he does need to figure out a way not to let the physical play of the average MLS defender get to him.
Ben Zemanski: 5
Geoff: Zemanski came on in the middle of the second half and pretty much just helped kill the game off. He wasn't terrible active, but had no major gaffes.
Jose Adolfo Valencia: N/A
Geoff: He had a really solid 5 minutes, but it simply wasn't enough to grade him. I do like that Porter is playing him more. There's a lot to this guy.