There have been five 1-0 victories this year for the Portland Timbers. But there have also been a few 1-0 leads that have turned into draws, losses, or, if we were lucky, barely-eked-out-white-knuckle finishes. None of them have been good for our blood pressure.
Eric Brunner, David Horst (and Futty Danso) deserve a lot of credit for improving their organization on the back line this season, and keeping our boys right in line for a late season playoff push.
And against Chivas USA last night Brunner and Horst, along with the rest of the defensive and midfield corps, emphatically demonstrated to the Goats of LA that Jeld-Wen Field is Our House. Or rather, Brunn's House.
Who's house? ... Brunn's House!
I said, whose house? ... Brunn's House!
When Nagbe came on in the 80th minute, he made a habit of casually jogging down his mark. His lax defense was almost disastrous -- Heath Pearce's cross in the third minute of stoppage time would certainly have produced the late equalizer if not for a poor finish on the part of Frenchman Laurent Courtois.
Meanwhile, Chabala twice let his mark scoot past him in the second half. He was saved both times by off-target shots. Yep, there's a considerable amount of luck in this game.
But I don't want to dwell on criticizing Nagbe and Chabala. Nagbe certainly wasn't hired for his skill on defense, and Chabala had a number of key contributions to the match. Like, you know, an assist. Plus, apparently his nickname is Chewie, which is awesome.
Nope, I'd much rather heap praise on Horst and Brunner. All throughout the game the two of them did everything you want them to. They coordinated well at the back, while providing capable support for our attack. When the others failed to stop Chivas from penetrating, Horst and Brunner cleaned up every time, with near flawless tackles, interceptions, blocks and clearances.
And then there are the two shots Horst contributed, and the goal from Brunner.
To me the moment of the match came in the 68th minute. Horst and Chabala had a moment of miscommunication after a Chivas corner floated to the left side of the Timbers' goal. Horst recovered immediately by interfering with the resulting cross from Justin Braun, stretching to his right. He was clearly in some pain from that extension but still had the wherewithal to put himself in the path of another ball from Braun, this one a powerful shot from the edge of the area. Only then did Horst pause to double over in pain.
That's quality, selfless defending.
So today I'm giving a RUN-DMC-style salute to Horst and Brunner. As I mentioned above, Jeld-Wen was definitely Brunn's House on Wednesday.
And David Horst ...
is the King of Block.
There ain't none higher.
Opposing strikers should call him sire.
He defends his kingdom, his fans admire,
He won't stop blockin til he retires.
Now he rocks the field when there's leads to protect.
His tackles are timely; his headers connect.
He gets knocked down, but he stands erect;
Sucka strikers can't beat him but give him respect!
Feel free to add your own stanzas in the comments...