Again the Timbers give up an early goal but this time don't hang their heads as they finally started to attack late in the first half. The second half was a lot of attacking from the Timbers but they got caught on the Counter. Portland improves but didn't show enough improvement and go down 2-0 on the road to Toronto.
The start of the gave me Déjà vu. It was like watching the Colorado game all over again. We came out shaky and nervous as Toronto kept possession and attacked at will. However the first 10 minutes we seemed to have better team defense and shape. Again in the 13th minute the Timbers gave up the early goal. The play originated in the middle of the park with Dwyane De Rosario making a run from wide into the middle of the park and getting behind the defense. The Timbers recovered well and stopped DeRo but again the Timbers lost the second runner and were punished when Javier Martina received a ball from DeRo and slotted it home past Adin Brown.
After the goal, which could have been deflating, Portland slowly started to become more and more engaged in the attack. They started winning free kicks deep in the attacking third. Timbers had free kicks in the 21st and 23rd minutes but were unable to come away with any shots on goal. Sometime around the 29th minute Ryan Pore and Jeremy Hall switched sides. The switch really seemed to be when the attack starting clicking. Hall seemed better suited to exploiting the right back of Toronto.
The game was really chippy throughout the game and it finally came to head in the 34th minute when Kenny Cooper and Maicon Santos exchange pleasantries and decide to exchange Christmas Cards. The ref then makes the shake hands and be BFF's. The Attack continues to build and Portland seems to have the run of play for the last 10 mins of the half. The Timbers best chance comes in the 39th minute down the left side but still doesn't result with a shot on goal.
All in all the first 15 minutes looked exactly like the Colorado game while the rest of the half the Timbers slowly started to show signs of life.
Big surprise at the second half with Jake Gleeson coming on for Adin Brown, who apparently has a hamstring injury. Gleeson showed composure and made a great first save within the first 5 minutes of the game. After that the game really started to open up and there was end to end soccer. While entertaining this style of play is very dangerous for Portland as the opposition can counter and score the game killing goal.
The desire was there and Portland showed more in the second half then they showed last game. In the end the Uphill battle as too much as Toronto struck on the counter and killed the game around the 70th minute. Even with a Red Card to Mikael Yourassowsky in the 83rd minute was not enough for Portland to get back into the game.
Portland Player Ratings
Ryan Pore- 5 - Showed more this game then last game and until he switched to the left side was a black hole
Jorge Perlaza- 4 - Perlaza was not what the Timbers needed him to be. Timbers need him to not only hold the ball but be more creative in the final third. He can do more
Kenny Cooper- 5 - He just didn't receive any service to be dangerous.
Jeremy Hall- 5 - Much better game than the opener, still needs to work with Wallace to create more chances
Jack Jewsbury - 6 - Really was the engine of the team, however he is not a playmaker.
Peter Lowry - 4 - Had some nice passes but made some bone headed passes. Timbers need him to be a better holding mid than he is showing
Rodney Wallace - 4 - Sad to say a 4 is an improvement from last game. His crosses all went in behind the forwards and he was punished on both the goals.
Eric Brunner - 8 - He is the best player on this team and it is sad that we have to see him make so many plays. Without him the score line would be much worse.
Steve Purdy - 6 - Showed great movement forward and had some ok crosses but the crosses need to be good
Kevin Goldthwaite- 5 - Again a 5 is an improvement as we did not hear his name when the goals came
Adin Brown - 5 - really did not see a lot from him today
Jake Gleeson- 6 - really showed why the Timbers are high on this kid but was caught slightly off his line on the goal. Although you can't blame him totally for that goal.
Brian Umony- 5 - really did not show much except for one good play where he held the ball up and then was able to cross the ball to Zizzo
Sal Zizzo - 6 - Was a spark on the offensive side of the ball and showed he can be a play maker on the wing, still need him for a full 90.
Notes and Observations
- Playing with an uphill battle all game long is draining and not something the Timbers can afford
- The Ref let a lot go and the Timbers need to recognize that and play the game how he refs it
- The Ref also used a disappearing spray to mark 10 yards, which I really like.
- The Timbers really need a play maker who can hold the ball and relieve pressure, without it they give up goals due to the lack of possession
- Looks like Gleeson is our Goalie of the future and at least for the next game should start
- Zizzo needs to start
- As Gavin Wilkinson said "there are a few holes we need to fill out on the pitch"