Game Flow: Portland Timbers Spot the Vancouver Whitecaps Two

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers could not over come their 7th and 8th penalty conceded of the year and lose 4-3 to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Well, disappointing doesn't quite cover it. Maybe one of these works? Regrettable, unfortunate, sorry, discouraging, disheartening, dispiriting,depressing, dismaying, upsetting, saddening.

Game Flow

Opening whistle- PK: The Portland Timbers felt like the came out with a ton of energy and confidence that hasn't been seen on the pitch at home in a while. Darlington Nagbe epitomized the confidence when he was stuck on the sideline with three Vancouver Whitecaps around him and he beat all three off the dribble and when he tried to beat a fourth it ricocheted off of him and straight to Diego Valeri. Valeri played Maximiliano Urruti through and the whole Whitecap defense backed off of him and dared him to shoot. He triple dogged dared them to guard him and when they didn't he punished them with a sweet curling shot to the top left corner of the goal.

The confidence continued to boil over as Portland continually abused Vancouver's outside backs and sent in semi dangerous crosses. Vancouver couldn't keep a sustained possession and was forced to look long to Erik Hurtado and Pedro Morales but Portland's defense was able to win most of the long balls and when they didn't the double pivots picked up the slack. Vancouver's only opportunities came from a couple of set pieces but Portland has cleaned up that part of their game.

Of course that is until Hurtado went down in the box and the Ref pointed to the spot.

PK - PK: The PK gave Vancouver an immediate boost of energy and with that came a couple of chances before Portland got back on the front foot. Nagbe was a key to the recover as he was continually used to stretch Vancouver on the switch and his passes to the middle created dangerous opportunities. With Portland pushed so far up the field you Vancouver did try to quickly release Hurtado over the top but Portland had it covered. You also saw a change in Vancouver's defense with a high pressure.

After all that good pressure Portland again gave up a soft penalty.

2nd PK- 35': After the second PK Portland continued to push for the goal but you could see Portland's backline was very frustrated and started to be a little too physical to express their displeasure with Vancouver affinity with laying on green and the ref's pleasure in hearing high shrill tones. Portland did have a penalty shout out of their own when on a similar play as the second PK Valeri was impeded from striking the ball with an outstretched foot of a defender.

35'- Half: The game settled down a little after a crazy 35 minutes but the chipiness was still there but no control was exerted and Vancouver hammered Nagbe with Impunity. Tempers boiled over when Sebastián Fernández held onto the ball after a foul on Vancouver and Pa Modou Kah decided to get it back. Fernandez then rolled around like he was punched. Both teams came together for a campfire song and to hug it out.

By the time extra time came about Portland was pressing for the equalizer but just could not find the final quality ball. Vancouver on the other hand got one cross in the final 5 minutes of the half and scored. Portland goes into the half down 2 with a lot of questions to answer.

Restart- Backbreaking goal:The game felt much slower than the end of the first half and it felt like Vancouver was out to try and manage the game and pick their spots going forward. They really picked their spot, Morales was out wide of the goal and hit a very long cross to the top corner of the opposite side of the box to Jordan Harvey. Harvey looked up, counted the defenders in front of him, licked his finger to gauge the wind speed and direction and then buried the ball in the far side netting. Not the start Portland needed to the second half.

Goal - Final Whistle: After the goal, maybe even since the restart, Nagbe moved to the top of the formation and Valeri moved to the wide part of the field. On the other end of the pitch Portland looked like they were going to give up a goal every time Vancouver was in the attacking third. Painful and cringe worthy to say the least.

The only Positive I can come up with is that Portland did not give up even if they are not 100% mentally there for 90 minutes. They also supplied one goal of the year candidate.

Observations:

  • Urruti gave Vancouver's defense no time on the ball and this helped Portland stifle Vancouver's possession

  • I am done complaining about Refs. (1 goal decided the game....)

  • Steve Zakuani used his speed to get behind the defense. Just like that sentence that is where it ended.

  • We can't wait for the summer transfer window. Defensive reinforcements are needed now.

  • Such a shame to waste one of Nagbe's better games of the year.

  • At the end of the game MP was yelling at the Refs as they walked off and clapping sarcastically. I see a fine coming possible suspesnion

  • Speaking of fines I expect to see a fine and maybe a suspension for simulation for Fernandez and his acting job at the end of the first half.

  • Looks like Adi can actually play the hold up position and pass. Who would have thunk it?

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