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Recap: Portland plays well on the road for 73 minutes

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Quick Recap:

The Portland Timbers came out with a sense of urgency they lacked on Friday and got the first goal. Portland was unable to hold the lead and gave up the equalizer. Portland ties 1-1 and now needs help to even have a chance to make the playoffs.

First Half:

Portland came out like they actually felt this game mattered as compared to Friday's game and the lack of energy Portland displayed. The urgency Portland showed led to a lot of possession in DC United's Half and allowed Portland to get into a rhythm they have never displayed on the road. DC on the other hand looked a little out of sync or like they were playing to absorb pressure and try to counter attack. It was if DC was the road team and Portland was the home team. 

In the first 5 minutes of the game Portland were putting tremendous pressure on the back line and was able to win a couple of dangerous set pieces, which they were unable to capitalize on. After the early surge DC seemed to wake up and started to apply their own pressure and won a corner kick in the 10th minute. Off the corner Portland defenders seemed confused and allowed a wide open header but luckily it went just over the bar.

After the first 10 minutes of action the game settled into a flow with most of the possession coming in DC's half. However Portland was just lacking that final quality ball into a dangerous area and were unable to really challenge DC's defense and goalie. Portland showed patience rarely seen all season long and continued to attack and posses the ball, at times they even brought the ball back out from one side to switch it around the back line to the other side to probe the defense. 

Even with all the possession DC were getting more shots on goal as the Portland players just couldn't find their shot or the will to shoot. Finally in the 24th Minute Rodney Wallace made a great run down the wing and hit a cross that was slightly deflected. The deflection set up Kenny Cooper perfectly in between two defenders and headed the ball into the back of the net. 

Despite conventional thought the goal seemed to spark DC and slowed down Portland. It was as if Portland thought that since they scored the first goal that they could just sit back and let DC have the ball. Portland did have their chances on set-pieces but nothing came close to challenging Bill Hamid while DC was able to get multiple shots on frame. Troy Perkins was able to come up with all the needed saves to ensure Portland went into the break up 1-0.

Second Half:

The second half started like the first half ended with Portland sitting back and letting DC run around the park with the ball. Despite the what seemed like a lack of possession Portland was still able to get close the the DC box but still were unable to find that final ball that creates that dangerous opportunity. Kalif Alhassan was particularly guilty of this as well as Rodney Wallace. Both almost looked like the were over thinking it and trying to do too much when playing the simple ball would have been the best option.

Credit DC as they continued to battle despite being behind and they were able to create chances that forced saves from Troy Perkins, luckily all of them were routine. However you could feel a goal coming because of the way the Timbers had sat back and invited DC to possess the ball. A turnover at midfield in the 74th minute turned into a scoring opportunity and Eric Brunner, who usually is so solid, allowed Dwyane DeRosario to turn rather easily and DeRo beat Troy Perkins near post. 

After the equalizer DC was smelling blood and really amped up the pressure while Portland looked to have dead legs. For the next 5 minutes DC continually had opportunities but Portland dealt with each and every one of them. Then the fun started.

Apparently after the 80th minute both teams decided to stop playing defense and turn the game into an end to end fast break soccer match. The teams traded counter attack after counter attack, with almost all of the plays either ending in saves or shots going just wide. Brian Umony by himself could have won the game twice in the last 5 minutes of the game but instead of hitting the square ball across the face of goal to a wide open Bright Dike he tried to go for glory and hit the ball near post. Bill Hamid was able to push the shot out wide for a corner. 

Bright Dike had a shot that was right at the keeper. Jack Jewsbury had one too. DC had their chances too, one was with Perkins out off of his line but luckliy with Perkins off his line there was only 1 opposing player behind the ball and therefore offside was called. I could write a whole recap just on the last 14 minutes of play there were so many chances.

In stoppage time Troy Perkins again showed us why he is THE MAN.  In the 3rd minute of stoppage time and DC's playoff hopes hanging in the balance (a tie would knock them out) DC came up with a 2 on 1. The 1 being Perkins. DeRo fed the ball across the box to on oncoming team mate and he thinking he had the game winning goal hit the ball only to see his hopes dashed as a flying Troy Perkins dove across the goal to stop the shot. The rebound found another DC player who hit a cracker of a shot from 6 yards out. Troy was ready for the shot and parried the shot over the line for a corner kick. The flurry was the last opportunity either team had and the game ended in a draw.

Observations:

  • Portland is just not patient enough in the final third and lacks the quality needed to score 
  • Our Central Midfielders disappeared after the 60th minute and it killed us. 
  • Kalif drove me crazy! He had multiple opportunities to create and take shots but he fell flat on almost all of them
  • Rodney Wallace is where attacks go to die..... Great cross to set up the goal but still.....
  • Our play off hopes are no longer in our hands, time to root for Philadelphia Union tomorrow.
  • Perkins is amazing, another Save of the Week Candidate.