The Portland Timbers established a new record for clean sheets in a season since the team joined Major League Soccer, breaking 2011's record of eight. Despite a big advantage in possession, the Timbers found themselves in a defensive battle with Eastern Conference up and comers, the Philadelphia Union. So, who was the biggest contributor to the Timbers' latest shutout?
Will: Pa Modou Kah
While many have rushed to give Andrew Jean-Baptiste credit for the Timbers solidity at the back (and on another day I might have been one of those people), Pa Modou Kah has to be credited in his return to play for the Timbers. While AJB was tasked with dealing with Conor Casey, a player he matches up well with, Kah needed to deal with, well, everything else. The two Timbers defenders find themselves with near identical stat lines, but Kah attempted and completed two thirds more passes on a night that saw the Timbers rely on a big possession advantage to control the game.
Add to that Kah's willingness to thrown himself around with no hesitation, the very thing that made him so effective against LA last month and got him sent off against the Crew last week, and it is clear that he is back and playing to his full potential.
Andy: Donovan Ricketts
I was unable to watch the second half of the game, sadly, so I'm just gonna go with Ricketts. That makes sense, right?
It's almost a given in a 0-0 draw that Ricketts is going to be somebody's man of the match. To be fair, if Chara had been able to play the full 90, he'd probably have been my MOTM, as he was the guy most prepared to take all of Philly's physical crap. But the second half, once again, very much belonged to Donovan Ricketts.
Stacey: Andrew Jean-Baptiste
Goalkeepers are often the standout players in 0-0 draws and Ricketts made a couple great saves, but AJB and the rest of the back line deserve a ton of credit for keeping one of the league's top offenses to only four shots on target. Jean-Baptiste is playing with a lot of confidence right now, which is encouraging to see.
Ryan: Andrew Jean-Baptiste
I have been critical of AJB and his lack of focus for the full 90 minutes, but this game I have to give him credit. He was fully focused for the full 90 minutes, using great position and his strength to limit Conor Casey and company to only 1 solid chance. AJB is starting to live up to some of his potential and this is very encouraging.
There are our picks, but what are yours? Vote in the poll below and let us know why in the comments.