The Portland Timbers looked good in their first half performance against the Seattle Sounders last night before the wheels came off for most of the second half. It was a performance that saw several great performances from the Timbers that were entirely nullified as the game went on. With both halves in mind then, who is was the Timbers best man of the match.
Ryan: Diego Valeri
Portland had three opportunities in the first half and they all were created by Valeri. His set pieces were dangerous all night and his passing in the first half showed why Portland did not wait until the end of the season to buy him outright. Valeri was unlucky not to pick a goal or an assist in the first half.
Michael: Diego Valeri
Clearly the best player for the Timbers again, at least in the first half. There isn't much to be added to the chorus of praise he's received for that performance. Lacked the same effectiveness in the second half and it cost Portland dearly. But other than the remote possibility of Darlington Nagbe, based more on what could have been, there is no contest for the Timbers' top player on Sunday night.
Stacey: Diego Valeri
That ball to Ryan Johnson was flawless, an absolutely perfect pass, and it's a shame Johnson flubbed the 1v1, because Valeri deserved that assist. His set pieces have improved as well; pretty much every kick he took last night was dangerous. Thanks in no small part to Valeri, the Timbers got their chances. It's a shame they couldn't finish them.
Andy: Darlington Nagbe
Though Diego Valeri was the best player of the first half by quite a long way, his absence in the second half knocks him off the top of the heap for me. Darlington Nagbe, on the other hand, was the Timbers' biggest threat going forward in the second half. He should have been even more effective, were it not for Jair Maruffo's stubborn refusal to caution Osvaldo Alonso for his repeated infractions whenever Nagbe burned him. Which was often.
Will: Diego Valeri
Even given his disappearance in the second half, Valeri's performance was masterful for the first 45 minutes of the game. His passes were spot on, his dribbling literally made Sounders defenders trip over themselves, and he was once again inches ay from scoring a beauty of goal with his 35' curling shot that was denied by the woodwork. Last week MLSsoccer.com asked fans who they would rather build a team around, Diego Valeri or Clint Dempsey, and in this game Valeri stated his case quite eloquently.
There are our picks, but what are yours? Vote in the poll below and let us know why in the comments.