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Portland slips a little further out of the playoff picture

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Quick Recap:

One team came out like their playoffs were on the line and another came out just to play. The Houston Dynamo take a  2-0 lead in the first half and never look back. 2-1 Portland Timbers lose.

First Half:

Portland came out and played like they usually play on the road, tentative. Within the first  90 seconds of the game Portland had already given up a corner and on that corner there was a half chance. The ball didn't even cross into the Dynamo half of the field unless it was a back pass from a Dynamo player for the first 5 minutes of the game.

Despite all of that Portland had a golden opportunity to score the opening goal in the 5th minute. Diego Chara hit a great through ball to Eddie Johnson. Johnson was through and only had Tally Hall to beat, which he was unable to do. The chance was there but the Timbers could not capitalize. The chance did awaken the Timbers and the possession started to even out for the next 10 minutes.

Despite the renewed energy from the Timbers again went down early on the road. A corner bounced out to Adam Moffat who hit a 40 yard strike into the upper corner of the goal. Portland tried to rebound from the goal and put more pressure on the Dynamo but the pressure wasn't enough as 10 minutes after the first goal Portland played Ole defense. You know where they get out of the way and say "Ole" as the opponent waltzes into the box and scores.

Going down 2-0 in the first 30 minutes killed any momentum the Timbers were slowly gaining and for the rest of the half it felt as if the Timbers were just trying to survive. Survive they did because Houston just kept on coming. Troy Perkins made an amazing save on Brian Ching in the 41st minute to keep him from growing the scoreline. Ching was wide open on a cross on the ground but Perkins running across the goal was able to keep it from going fully over the line. At the very least the save will be one to vote on for the Save of the Week.

Second Half:

The second half was a much better half for the Timbers. They came out looking to get a goal back and they almost did get it back in the first 5 minutes of the half. Sal Zizzo was played the ball on the wing. He immediately beat his player and the second defender that came to help and made it to the near post. His decision was lacking as he decided to shoot rather than square the ball to a wide open Kenny Cooper

Portland continued to press but that press led to counter attacks from the Dynamo. It led to a few dangerous moments but the Defense was up to the task and very few if any shots made it to Troy Perkins. The pressure did lead to a goal in the 56th minute. Once again Zizzo made a great run down the wing and this time hit a great cross to the back post where Darlington Nagbe was. Nagbe headed the ball back to Captain Jack Jewsbury, who hit a great volley that was deflected into the goal. 

From then on Houston knew they had a game on their hands. Once Portland got the ball they sat 10 men behind the ball and dared Portland to break them down. Portland only got a 1 or 2 good chances but were unable to get the equalizer and the final 3 minutes of added time you could see Portland was too tired to really mount any semblance of an attack and just tried to hit the ball forward.

Another disappointing loss and one that puts Portland further away from the Playoff picture.

Observations:

  • Whenever the Timbers play a 4-5-1 they truly lack any cohesion and don't look dangerous. However when they play a 4-4-2 and say "screw it, we are going balls to the wall" they looks dangerous and amazing. I know you play for a tie or a 1-0 draw but it just doesn't seem to suit this team.
  • The Ref let so much go and it lead to Eddie Johnson being knocked out of the game early. He was sent to a local hospital for evaluation.
  • Lovel Palmer received his 5th yellow card and will be suspended for Wednesday's game.
  • To be in the play-off picture after this brutal 14 days the Timbers need 9 points from 4 games.....
  • The story of this game is chances, if Johnson, Cooper (twice), Zizzo make better decisions or actually hit the ball better Portland Wins this game or at least draws.