Game Flow: Portland Timbers Spoil a Perfect Birthday Present

Steve Dykes

The Portland Timbers wasted Diego Chara's best game as a Portland Timbers and blow a two goal lead with 5 minutes to go.

From the 75th minute on you could tell the implosion was coming. So frustrating to see as a fan but I know the team feels just as frustrated.

Game Flow

Opening Whistle-Timbers first goal: The Portland Timbers' energy was the best I saw from the opening kick-off but once again set piece defending killed any dreams of a fast start. The goal did not hamper Portland's energy as they continued to look for an early goal but their passing was not as sharp, as we have seen throughout most of this year and this lead to quite a few odd man rushes with defenders out of position. The work rate paid off with a great effort from Diego Chara who won the ball far up the field off of Gonzalo Pineda and immediately attacked the acres of space in front of him and when the defenders sagged off of him hit a cracker of a goal.

11'-24': After the Timbers goal the game really opened up and the play was end to end. The Timbers had one shot bounce off the post; the Seattle Sounders had one saved by Weber and numerous other half chances. The wide open play benefited the Portland Timbers as they were able to expose the defense of Seattle often and to great effect, especially the Timbers left side with Darlington Nagbe and Michael Harrington. This pairing led to Portland's second goal with great combination play between the two and Diego Valeri. Even with all the positives the passing from three out of the four backline was suspect when Portland did gain possession and multiple Seattle chances came from errant passes, including their second goal.

24'-Half: The game settled down a little after Seattle's second goal but it was still a lot of end to end soccer with high pressure from both teams and that high pressure led to a lot of chances for both teams. The chipiness also elevated in this section with a lot of late fouls by the Sounders, thankfully the referee was not having any of it from either side as he handed out 3 yellow cards in this section of the half. Of course this was accentuated by the floppiness of the Seattle, which is exactly what a fish out of water does. As the half wore on both teams started to run out of gas and the amount of fouls called really made the last few minutes of the half very choppy.

0 Portland's first offensive opportunity was right down the left side and right at DeAndre Yedlin which seemed was a definite indication of who and where Portland wanted to attack Seattle. Seattle on the other hand signaled their intent to attack Norberto Paparatto and to also apply high pressure. When they could they also did their best to win free kicks. Seattle did read their scouting report and followed it to the letter. "Chara is open at the top of the box? Let em take a shot. Oh Urruti is open now? He can't shoot either." It worked out well, for the Timbers.

61'- 75': Portland continued to turn Seattle high up the field and it continued to create scoring opportunities. However when Seattle did break the high press they did have their chances to score but thankfully the defense held firm. However often Seattle did get forward the game really felt like Portland was in full control and poised to score a third one in the half. Have to give credit to Seattle as they weather the storm after Portland's second goal and continued to play.

75'-Final Whistle: A lot of the energy expended in the first 75' of the game started to catch up with the Timbers as they started to look gassed. Seattle on the other hand made two subs and looked like a much stronger team as they tried to claw their way back into the game. Portland finally made their first sub of the game in the 84' minute and it came back to bight Portland in the butt. In the final 5 minutes of the game Seattle scored twice to tie the game and had numerous opportunities to win the game.

Observations:

  • A line up like what we would see last year and the results bore fruit offensively. Looks like Portland needs two players who can play wide on the wings.
  • In the first 7 minutes of the game Nagbe was fouled three times (drawing one yellow), this equates to a lot of fouls suffered
  • I have a feeling that when Chara was taking that shot he was thinking to himself "This is for Leverage!" and the second time it was "First time was no fluke! Take that Leverage" (Done out of love, I promise)
  • With his two goals today Chara doubled his career goal scoring production as a Timber.
  • Nagbe took it to Yedlin all game long and Harrington punished the fact that Seattle needed to help Yedlin out
  • The second half saw Portland return to man marking on some set pieces but not on all.
  • Urruti's goal elicited such a great response from the rest of the team. They really must like him and think highly of him.
  • The fans around the Seattle fans got into the game by chanting "Suck!" when the Seattle fans did their Seattle-Sounders chant
  • Anyone but Duece.... Anyone. Even Lenhart. Well maybe not him either.
  • I can't stand how whiny Dempsey is, always talking to the ref about everything.
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