Despite a lot of negatives the Portland Timbers have continued to battle and now sit three points out of 3rd place and 6 points from 2nd.
Opening Whistle to 36': From the opening whistle Real Salt Lakes plan was to get the opening goal and maybe one more. The attacked and pressured the Portland Timbers from the opening whistle until they scored in the 23rd minute. Portland played right into their hands with little to no possession in the first 25 minutes of the game. The result was a lot of chances for RSL open the scoring and the field feeling like it was completely tilted towards Donovan Ricketts. RSL should have scored multiple times before they did and should have buried more than one goal.
If it wasn't for the heroics of Ricketts Portland would have been down multiple goals. Slowly but surely after the Timbers gave up the initial goal Portland started to gain some traction and some possession. This shift in the momentum combined with the physical play of Adi started to wear out RSL.
36' to 45': Portland's goal in the 36th minute was a just reward for a team that put all 4 of their first half shots on target. With the game tied at 1 RSL still continued to control a lot of the possession but Portland kept the defense tight, unlike the first 20 minutes of the game, and countered a tired team. This strategy lead to a 4 on 2 break late in the half with Gaston Fernandez leading it. His pass and subsequent shot was saved initially but the rebound fell right to a very inform Fanendo Adi and he scored his second of the night.
Restart to Red Card: After allowing RSL to dominate the possession stat in the first half Portland came made some halftime adjustments and looked to manage the game with a gone goal lead. With an uptick in possession Portland's Darlington Nagbe found himself on the ball a little more and thus on the ground a little more than the first half. Nagbe and La Gata were the targets of the Portland defense when they looked for a quick pass to spring the counter. One such pass placed Nagbe in a one on one situation with Tony Beltran, Nagbe's speed was too much for Beltran and a tactical foul was needed to stop a Portland counter.
Less than 2 minutes later Nagbe once again made Beltran look silly as he danced by him. Beltran knew he was beat and did the only thing he could do to stop Nagbe, which was to foul him from behind. The two footed lunge from behind and the scissor motion of his legs earned him his second yellow of the match and an early shower.
Red Card to Final Whistle: A lot like when Portland went down a man against Columbus RSL did not give up and was pushing for the equalizer. Rather than commit numbers forward Portland sat a little deeper and looked to manage the game to get the result. When they did pick their spots it was through the newly inserted Steve Zakuani because of his fresh legs and speed. RSL was forced to commit two players to cover Zakuani and this commitment of numbers helped Portland seal the game off and earn the full three points.
- Right after the Red Card my mom turned to me and said "We are getting a PK this game." I think she needs to buy a lottery ticket
- Portland is moving up the standings and starting to look better each game.
- I love the fact that there are three in form strikers to choose from.
- For once the other team looked like they were out of gas at the end of the game instead of the Timbers
- Thank goodness Nick Rimando was not there!