Portland Timbers Postscript: Keeping Them in the Game

USA TODAY Sports

Timber Joey fired up his wood cookie cutter in the fourth minute of stoppage time on Saturday, as Andrew Jean-Baptiste's heroics added a new page to the Timbers' epic 2013 campaign.

By the Numbers

32

Number of league matches played since the last time the Portland Timbers lost two straight *

1

Number of Timbers winning streaks in league matches in 2013 (two games, April 6-14)

0

Number of three-game winning streaks the Timbers have had in the MLS era

3-0-0

The Timbers' record in matches in which they have failed to win at least 50% of possession **

2

Number of MLS home shutout streaks that have ever been longer than the Timbers' 587-minute streak that ended on Saturday *

* denotes stats provided by Mike Donovan.

** denotes stats provided by Chris Rifer.

Moment of the Match

The Timbers' win against the LA Galaxy probably wasn't Caleb Porter's favorite victory of his inaugural season, notwithstanding his emotional reaction to Andrew Jean-Baptiste's winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

As he typically does in post-victory press sessions, Porter downplayed every part of the win, most notably giving Donovan Ricketts credit only for having done his job, not for having done anything spectacular or keeping the team in the game.

Well, yeah, but...

The LA Galaxy's biggest strength is their ability to get the ball behind the opposing defense, and sure enough they were able to do just that several times on Saturday. With Galaxy strikers bearing down on him, Ricketts was forced to make what would appear to be his least favorite kind of save -- the reaction save.

Yeah, his save of Juninho's free kick a yard outside the penalty area will get the most notice from Save of the Week voters, but that's his bread and butter. His charge out of the box to tackle the ball away from Gyasi Zardes will get the most cheers, but Ricketts always seems to enjoy the opportunity to get forward and stop a shot before it happens.

My moment of the match (finally getting around to this) was his 82nd minute save on Zardes' shot from point-blank range. Futty had run up to challenge the charging Marcelo Sarvas, leaving Zardes strolling unmarked at the top of the box. With Andrew Jean-Baptiste's attention focused on the ball, Marcelo passed to a wide open Zardes, who tried to beat Ricketts low.

Ricketts might well have been slow to react around this time last year, but not this time. He reacted quickly, got himself low, put a hand to the shot, and let AJB (partially) redeem himself with a strong clearance out of bounds. And yes, he kept the Timbers in the game.

Injuries and Bookings

According to MLS' disciplinary summary for the match, Baldomero Toledo doled out seven cautions on the evening, but just one of them had anything at all to do with the play on the field, that being Ryan Johnson's apparent takedown of Juninho. Every other yellow was a result of an argument, dissent, or excessive celebration.

Of those, only Diego Chara's (totally unwarranted) yellow in the 40th minute puts him in danger of an accumulation suspension. Having already used up his good behavior incentive, he'll receive a suspension with his next yellow. (For some reason, MLS' disciplinary report lists Ben Zemanski with four yellows, but I only count three.)

Jean-Baptiste now sits on three cautions on the season, Ryan Johnson at two. Donovan Ricketts' yellow card for dissent was his first of the year.

Around the League

FC Dallas 0:3 Real Salt Lake

I certainly expected Dallas' early unstoppability to wane at some point, but I never could have predicted Salt Lake to regain their status as MLS' team to beat. There's no denying it now, with a clean sheet in Dallas using a third-string keeper.

San Jose Earthquakes 1:0 Seattle Sounders

As much as I enjoy watching the Sounders lose, I never like seeing them get injured, especially when it's intentional. I hope the Disciplinary Committee gives Steven Lenhart a nice, long suspension for that.

Vancouver Whitecaps 3:1 Chicago Fire

I loathe Camilo Sanvezzo as much as the next guy, but I have to admit, when he actually stays on his feet, he's a lot of fun to watch -- and his Whitecaps a very difficult team to beat.

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