In their 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake last night, the Timbers controlled possession throughout the game, finishing with just under 60% of the ball. It did not help them, however, as RSL's ability to break out and take advantage of their chances was the Timbers' undoing. Still, it looked at times like the Timbers would be able to grab an equalizer and there were some fantastic shifts put in.
Here are our picks for the Timbers' Man of the Match:
Ryan: Diego Chara
I wanted to say Diego Valeri but his point blank miss hurt the timbers. So I defaulted to the hardest working player on the field, Chara. It was great to see him out there and his presence helped stifle the RSL attack. Of course he is of little use on set pieces and we know Portland's track record lately on set pieces.
Michael: Diego Valeri
Diego Valeri was the Timbers' most dangerous and effective attacker against Real Salt Lake. Beyond the goal he scored, Valeri provided service to teammates in dangerous positions, notably forcing diving saves from Nick Rimando and setting up Ryan Johnson's controversial far post header just before half-time. Despite all of his positive contributions, Valeri will probably want to have his open header back. Still, best player on the field for the Timbers.
Stacey: Diego Valeri
That open header he missed will likely haunt Timbers fans and Valeri himself for a while, but it shouldn't obscure the otherwise great game he had. He was consistently putting dangerous passes and crosses into the box that the rest of the attack unfortunately couldn't finish, while also taking a couple shots himself that forced Rimando to remind everyone why he is such a respected keeper in MLS. Overall, even before the goal, Valeri was the Timbers biggest attacking threat. Any chance at pulling level was clearly going to come through him.
There are our picks, but what are yours? Vote in the poll below and let us know why in the comments.