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Portland ties a game but feels like a loss: San Jose away recap

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Quick Recap:

The Portland Timbers scores first and against the run of play in the first half but gives up a goal in the second half to take 1 point from the San Jose Earthquakes on the road.

First Half:

By far the starting line-up for this game was the most unusual line-up the Timbers haves used all season. Lovel Palmer and James Marcelin started in the middle of the pitch with Jeremy Hall taking Palmer's spot in the back. The lack of creativity really showed in the middle of the pitch. Despite the lack of play-makers in the middle Portland continually attacked down the wings with Sal Zizzo and Darlington Nagbe

More After the Jump

The attack down the wings occurred so few times because of the lack of ability to possess the ball for any amount of time. In fact the possession looked to be almost 80-20 in the first 20 mins of the game. Despite the huge disparity in possession Jeremy Hall hit a great through ball to Jorge Perlaza in the 23rd minute. Perlaza had no defender around him and found an equally wide open Kenny Cooper who calmly hit the ball into the back of the net. 

The goal looked like it was a practice drill because of the lack of San Jose players around, the San Jose defenders seemed to think either Perlaza was offside or were so beat on the play the automatically gave up. One would think that getting the opening goal against a team that hasn't won in 9 games would be a spark for a team coming off a great win. Sadly that was not the case.

Portland seemed to go into a defensive shell for the rest of the half. Even when they won the ball back they either hit a bad pass or hit a long ball that was easily defended. The ball would then come right back into Portland's defensive third. Luckily San Jose looked like a team that had not won in 9 games and nothing really threatened Troy Perkins.

Second Half:

The second half was exactly like the first half with the exception of the fact that Portland didn't score. It was as if Portland thought they could ride out an early goal by just defending and without possession. Spencer even thought he could get away without making a sub to change the game until after San Jose scored. 

San Jose's goal was another goal that should not have happened but was one that almost all felt was coming because of the play of Portland. Once the goal happened in the 67th minute Portland tried hard but couldn't make enough plays because a lack of a true central midfielder. 

In the last minute of the game Portland had probably their best chance to score in the 90th minute as Lovel Palmer had his shot blocked (may have been a handball but there was no definitive replay angle) when he had an open goal. The resultant play cost Portland it's right back as Jeremy Hall received his second yellow for dissent (being over zealous in your disagreement with the ref), which was probably the worst call in a relatively good officiated game.

Your thoughts? Feelings? Venting? player ratings?

Observations:

  • Cooper's play with Perlaza continues to improve as they really combined well at times tonight, but both were starved for service
  • Mike Chabala and Darlington Nagbe are dangerous with their combinations
  • Darlington Nagbe has slowly started to show his amazing skills. At one point tonight he dribbled around with 4 or 5 defenders on him and found the open player
  • Chara and Jewsbury are huge keys to this team and the Timbers need at least one of them in there. With both out this team has no play-maker in the middle.
  • Great to see Bright Dike but he still has mich to learn
  • The only positive is that the Timbers are still the 7th place team and didn't lose to a team below them. Win at home and draw on the road as the saying goes (we should have won though)