The Portland Timbers probably play their most complete road game of the year and score the only goal of the game. Yet they still lose 1-0 away on an Own goal.
No one was able to see the first 10 minutes of the game because of technical difficulties but according to John Strong we didn't miss any goal scoring opportunities. For the next ten minutes if you tuned in to the game you would not have thought that the Columbus Crew was the team that was 1 win away from leading the Eastern Conference. Portland really passed the ball well around the pitch and were finding openings to spring players down the wings. However the 4-5-1 with Jorge Perlaza is not built for the crosses that result in that type of attack.
After the Columbus Crew weathered the pressure by Portland they started to exert their own will on the game and utilized their wings, Eddie Gaven and Robbie Rogers. Their attack almost came up with a goal as Lovel Palmer was beaten easily by Rogers, who hit a great cross but luckily no offensive player got on the end of it in the 34th minute.
Darlington Nagbe probably played his best MLS game as a Timber. His passing skill and ability to attack created a shot on goal in the 37th minute. He made a great pass to Diego Chara who hit it right back to him and allowed Nagbe to get just beyond the box where he hit his shot just wide.
From that play Columbus really started to awaken from a stupor and became a lot more physical, which the Ref let happen. and for the last 5 minutes of the half Portland, just like the Chicago game, they looked like a team just trying not to give up a goal. Luckily for them they did not.
The second half started like the first half ended with Columbus dominating the possession and getting more of the attack. Portland still had it's opportunities but none of them were that dangerous. With the momentum no on the Columbus side Portland was flirting with disaster and they almost gave up a goal in the 59th minute. Chad Marshall got a header on frame off a corner but Nagbe saved it off the line in what could be another Save of the Week for Portland.
However the great save was wasted as Portland really did not have another good attempt on goal until the waning minutes of the game. Columbus however put enough pressure on Portland that it got a goal line scramble which resulted in Mamadou "Futty" Danso putting in his second own goal of the year.
Portland's last gasp came in the 86th minute as Sal Zizzo made a great individual play to get by the last defender out wide. However the whole rest of the team was not with him, or they were on the ground like Kenny Cooper was, and his back pass went to a marked Captain Jack Jewsbury, who had his shot blocked easily by a defender.
Portland again loses on the road.
- Palmer really played well on the right and his crossing was a little better than Jeremy Hall or Steve Purdy. The Defense looked a little better with both Eric Brunner back in and the addition of Palmer
- Nagbe looked like he is getting the hang of the MLS and if he combines with Chara like he was today Portland can be dangerous.
- Cooper did nothing today.....
- Portland has conceded 9, yes 9 goals in the last 15 minutes.
- Columbus has Cheerleaders, for shame.
- The play is slowly getting better but there is still lots of room for improvement.