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Recap: The Portland Timbers Earn an Away Point

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Quick Recap:

Not the result the Portland Timbers wanted but the Timbers play mediocre soccer in the first half but show they are the better team in the second half. However no one finds the back of the net and the Timbers earn their first 0-0 draw of the season.

First Half:

The start of the game was a pretty typical start for a road game. Start slow and tentative and then slowly build up to some counter attack chances. Luckily the Philadelphia Union's anemic offense was unable to pounce on the slow start of the Timbers. The Union did out possess the Timbers for a vast majority of the first half but they really had very little to show after all that possession.

When the Timbers did finally get possession the attack was a lot less of the "hit it to Kenny Cooper" style and more "find the wings". The play down the wings was at times very fluid but still lacking in and around the penalty area. Salvatore Zizzo found himself open on numerous occasions but either dribbled into 2 defenders or was unable to find either Jorge Perlaza or Kenny Cooper for a decent chance on goal.

All in all the first half was played very methodically by the Timbers and made it almost apparent that the 2 weeks off was bad for their momentum. However the Timbers' two center backs were equal to any challenge that the Union tried to throw at them in the first half. 

Second Half:

Portland really came out with the foot on the pedal and it showed that when they play with more a little more tempo they are able to create some nice chances. With the increase in tempo Portland did open the game up a little and with that opened themselves up to the counter. However the back-line remained calm and composed and snuffed out any chances the Union had for the first 20 minutes of the game.

The action really started to heat up as the game came to the final 10 minutes. Portland seemed to take over the game and found the forwards more often and Cooper was able to get a couple good looks on frame. The biggest chance came in the final 5 minutes as Cooper was played through on the counter from a great ball by Diego Chara. Cooper was unable to keep his shot on frame and it rolled just wide of the goal. 

Just after the final attempt from Portland the Union got their opportunity in a flurry of activity. The ball finally ended up at the feet of a Union player 15 yards from goal and he hit a screamer. Which the Crossbar ever so nicely pushed up and out for. Save of the week for the Timbers right there.

After that the Timbers just looked to eek out the draw and take the 1 point.

Observations:

  • Cooper played an good game holding up the ball and getting three shots on target. Would have been an excellent game if he would have made that last one count.
  • The Timbers' defensive woes have been solved with the core of Eric Brunner, David Horst, Mike Chabala and Lovel Palmer
  • Zizzo and Kalif Alhassan still need to learn poise when they are around the penalty area, if that happens Portland will be a dangerous team
  • Overall a positive result as it keeps the Union from the full 3 and matches New York Redbulls and gains 1 point on the Houston Dynamo.
  • Now we need a full 3 points from the next two home games.

Chime in and tell me your observations and your thoughts on the game.