As usual the Portland Timbers started off slow while their opponents, the Vancouver Whitecaps, started out with the pedal to the metal. Within the first minute the Whitecaps had a shot on goal that was saved by Donovan Ricketts. While the Whitecaps were brimming with confidence the Portland Timbers were out of sync probably due to the line-up changes and the physical play of the Whitecaps.
The physical play lead to a lot of choppy play, which does not allow the Timbers or any possession team to get into a rhythm. Added to the physical play was the fact that the Canadian Olympic Diving Trials was moved to Portland. At first the Referee bought everything the Whitecaps were selling but over the course of the game he grew wise to their strategy and started swallowing his whistle.
By the end of a very choppy first half 17 fouls had been called and 4 yellow cards had been issued. The second half was a different story with the game opening up and the Timbers able to possess the ball and string passes together. The opening goal came on just a sequence after a Whitecap turnover in Portland's half.
Darlington Nagbe picked up the ball off a pass from Will Johnson and immediately turned the ball up the field and attacked. Nagbe dumped the ball off to Diego Valeri on the wings and he then attacked the space opened up by Nagbe. The Whitecap defense gave him a lot of time on the ball and this allowed him to hit a perfect cross. His cross was hit to the near post and Ryan Johnson timed his run perfectly and headed the ball into the near post, side netting.
The goal not only energized the crowd but it also seemed to energize the Whitecaps and with that added energy the game opened up and it became a back and forth affair. Even though game was back and forth it did not feature a lot of goal scoring opportunities as each team could not hit the final quality ball to create a dangerous goal scoring opportunity.
Most of Vancouver's opportunities came from set piece situations, either from a foul or from a corner. In the 69th minute Vancouver got the equalizer they were looking for on a corner.
After Vancouver scored Portland pressed and committed numbers forward in an attempt to earn the full three points but despite a few hectic moments they were unable to put the ball in the back of the net.
- There are a lot of positives despite what the you may read on the twitterverse.
- Through 22 games in the 2013 season the Portland Timbers have surpassed 2012 total and 7 points away from 2011's total.
- If Portland averaged 1 point per game over the remaining games they will end up with 47 points, more than likely enough to make the playoffs.
- All teams go through slumps, the Portland Timbers' slump coincides with Will Johnson's absence and then the injury to Diego Chara.
- Amazing to see how much missing Diego Chara affects not only the defensive side of the ball but the offense as well.
- The team was angry after this loss. Angrier than I have ever seen them and I have been in the locker room for some bad losses the first two seasons.