At some point we all knew the streak would have to end, it's too bad it had to end the way it did. The Portland Timbers came out flat and gave up an early goal off of a set piece and followed that up with an early red card to Pa Modou Kah. Once Portland was down a man it took a lot of energy to close down Columbus and offensively make up for the missing player.
This was a frustrating game to watch. From the first whistle Portland looked tentative and unsure of what to do with the ball when it was at their feet. Which lead to an early corner in the 5th minute of play. On the corner the marking was atrocious as multiple Columbus Crew players were left unmarked in the box. Bernado Anor, one of the aforementioned, said "thank you very much!" as he buried the ball into the back of the net.
Usually when Portland gets scored on early in a game it wakes them up and they start to play their game. This time the poor passing and lackadaisical play continued. The team looked slow of feet and of mind. Kah in particular was having trouble. The next big blunder came in the 11th minute when during one of Columbus' attacks a ball was hit too strongly and the receiving player headed it high into the air. Kah seeing let the ball bounce right at the top of the box instead of trying to clear it right away. Letting it bounce allowed Aaron Schoenfeld, getting his first MLS start, to get behind Kah and while he was trying to head it Kah doing his best to make up for the mistake mistakenly took Schoenfeld's face for the ball.
The Ref immediately pulled the red from his back pocket and then pointed to the penalty spot. Frederico Higuain stepped up and pushed the ball wide of the goal.
After the penalty Portland continued to look slow but mainly this was because there was very little off the ball movement. On numerous occasions the center backs had the ball and no one was giving them an option. This resulted in a lot of back passes to Ricketts or a lot of long balls that were easily won by Columbus.
When Portland did play it through the middle or found the feet of their playmakers Columbus cut them down. The physical nature of the game broke up Portland's rhythm and took them out of the game more than the early goal.
Portland did not start to see chances until the second half of the game but even those chances were not on frame and it took an individual effort from Darlington Nagbe to finally get a shot on frame. Nagbe 30 yards inside Portland's half and beat the first player who closed him down with speed. His run continued all the way to the top of the box where he uncorked a shot after cutting the ball across the top of the box. His shot was the first and only shot on frame for the Timbers and was as close as Portland would come to scoring.
- Ryan Johnson needs Rodney Wallace.... RW brings out the best in RJ and today was not his best. Using him as a target striker against a team who is good in the air just lead to a lot of lost possession.
- Ben Zemanski is not Will Johnson and without WJ this team seemed to lack some fire today. They looked a little like the 2011 and 2012 Timbers who played tentative at times.
- Ricketts has had some amazing saves. The behind the head swipe at it like a bear to put it over the bar save was amazing.
- 20 fouls for the Crew, yet they only earned 2 yellows. Portland had 16 fouls and they earned 4 yellows and one red (Kah's Red is considered a straight red as no second yellow as shown)
- Who would have thought we are more likely to have Frederic Piquionne missing more games due to the Gold Cup than Will Johnson... Nice result for Martinique.
- Baffling quote of the night goes to Robert Warzycha for his "But it's usually difficult to play a man up." Say what? It is hard to play 79 minutes with the man advantage? Maybe next time he should have a player come out for treatment and then not send them back in...
- Alhassan in his 11 minutes of soccer looked slow and as usual took one too many touches. Might be time to give Nanchoff some run.
- I will take the blame on this one guys. I shouldn't have posted the streak article. All my fault.