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Game Recap: Portland Timbers vs the Energy Drinks

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Quick Recap:

Portland once again gives up an early goal in the 5th minute but fight back and take a lead only to squander it late. Portland ties 3-3.

First Half:

The Portland Timbers really came out like they had a lot to prove and that made them play tight. Their passes were not as accurate as they needed to be and they forced a lot of passes. This lead to another early goal in the 5th minute on some really nice combinations by the New York Redbulls. Portland settled down a little as the game progressed but seemed to lack the guile or the ability to break down a Redbull defense that put 10 men behind the ball when not in possession. 

I have to give props to the TA because in the 10th minute they chanted "Free the Spencer" for a good 3 minutes.

Portland really looked shaky once they gave up possession, thankfully the Red Bulls really conceded a lot of time of possession to Portland in the first 15 minutes of the game. Still with all that possession Portland managed 0 shots while the Red Bulls managed 3 with a goal.

More after the jump:

For the first 25 minutes it felt like I was watching two brothers play pick-up basketball in the driveway. Where the little brother dribbles a ways away from the basket cause he is not quick enough or big enough to get around his older brother. Then when he gets his chance he either hoists up a 30 footer that either hits the rim a couple of times and bounces out or is an air ball. Then the Big brother gets the ball and runs circles around the little brother doing whatever he wants.

 This game really didn't show a lot from the 25th minute until the 35th minute when Portland finally got the ball down the wing thanks to Darlington Nagbe who won a corner. On the ensuing corner Kenny Cooper either got shot or hit from behind, I couldn't tell which. Once you get a reputation for going down easy you get calls less often. If you get a reputation for not going down easy you get those questionable calls. Someone needs to tell Kenny Cooper.

Portland started to show signs of life in the last 10 minutes of the half as they started to break down the outside players for the Red Bulls. The Final Ball just wasn't there, Man I feel like a broken record. The last 10 minutes was due to either Portland Playing better or New York letting up on the gas a bit, I would have to say a little of both. Portland goes into the locker room down 1.

Second Half:

Portland came out with a lot of energy in the second half and created two half chances in the first 90 seconds of the game. Those chances pinned the Red Bulls in their end and lead directly to a chance from Captain Jack Jewsbury buried a long shot from the corner of the box off a long throw in. Captain Jack came through again in the 50th minute. Portland got a set-piece from a foul committed on Kenny Cooper. Captain Jack hit a beautiful ball to the far post that Eric Brunner hit back in front of the goal. Kevin Goldthwaite, yes you read that right, had an amazing flick behind his legs to get the ball into the net. It is so hard to describe the explosion of energy that went through the stadium. 

From that goal on it was as if Portland and New York changed kits at half time just to fool everyone. Portland really tried to pore it on from the 50th minute on, especially when winning set pieces, and created at least 5 half chances that lead to dangerous balls but no shots on goal. 

New York was still dangerous whenever Portland committed numbers forward. When Portland lost the ball New York Looked to spring Thierry Henry or Dwayne De Rosario. Portland's CB's were up to the task of shutting them down as numbers got back behind the ball. Kalif Alhassan really was a pest on the right side of the field as he worked hard to pressure their outside backs. The pressure paid off as he dispossessed Mehdi Ballouchy on numerous occasions with one of those occasions leading to a great ball to Jorge Perlaza who played the ball across the box looking for Cooper. Luckily Stephen Keel forgot what kit he was wearing and put the ball in the back of the net. 

The Red Bulls got increasingly more desperate and committed numbers forward. Portland was able to counter and spring Perlaza on numerous occasions. However the Red Bulls were able to pull one back with Henry getting a great through ball after which he beat Troy Perkins near post. For some reason Rodney Wallace picked up the ball after the goal and was mobbed by three Red Bull players, a scuffle ensued and two yellow cards were handed out. One to Wallace which means he is suspended for the next game. 

New York Continued to attack and Portland countered this back and forth led to a great through ball to Perlaza who beat the keeper but was taking down by him. Captain Jack stepped up to take the PK but missed it, hitting the outside of the right post. This brought about a heart stopping final 15 minutes. Portland luckily did not stop attacking as this kept the pressure on the Red Bulls and didn't allow them to set up their offense. 

Portland really worked the last 5 minutes plus the 4 minutes of stoppage time to seal the game off. New York put a lot of Energy into trying to tie it. A couple of bizarre twists to end the game occurred during stoppage time as Henry was awarded a Red Card for something, honestly I have no idea what for. Then to end the game Portland was called for a handball in the box and De Rosario stepped up and tied the game late.

Observations: 

  • Kalif played a great game today and really helped the turn around in the second half.
  • Goldthwaite played great, especially on the set-pieces he really had some great runs that created a lot of chances.
  • Portland outplayed arguably the best team in the MLS in the second half. The Team needs to bottle whatever caused that turn around and drink it before every half.
  • I didn't see a Red for Henry...........
  • Lucky for the Timbers El Salvador was eliminated from the Gold Cup and therefore Steve Purdy can play next weekend in place of Rodney Wallace.
  • Captain Jack needs to hit the PK with pace, especially against a dodgy keeper, not place it.
  • Now we need results on the road, a scary prospect.
  • The "You can't stop us..." Call and response is amazing now and really loud in the press box. As is the PTFC chant. The media guy next to me said that Portland has the best fans in the MLS that he has seen, he covers the Red Bulls.
Your Thoughts? Epic Collapse? Great game? Or Both.