The Timbers' match last night against visiting D.C. United was promising but dissatisfying thanks to a penalty kick that gifted the opening goal to DC fifteen minutes into the second half. After slow first half, the penalty, called for a ball that may have brushed the sleeve of David Horst, seemed to give the Timbers a chip on their shoulder and a renewed sense of urgency as they pressed forward with every opportunity, eventually getting the tying goal through Bright Dike with ten minutes to go and pressing hard for a winner until the final whistle.
Will - Steven Smith
In some ways the Timbers are doing Smith (and themselves) a disservice by putting Darlington Nagbe and Franck Songo'o on the wing ahead of him. With both players intent on cutting inside and driving at the goal, Smith's long runs down the left are overlooked more often than not. When he is involved in the attack, though, good things happen as we saw with his excellent interception, run, and cross against DC that lead to Bright Dike's tying goal. Smith has been making those runs all game for the last several months and if the Timbers can make use of him he could provide more than just eh steady hand on defense that we have seen.
Andy - Steven Smith
His maturity and calm are what the Timbers need in a game like this, when there's so much to be frustrated about. When his teammates were reluctant to pass the ball up the field, Smith forced the issue and made some great runs forward. When the team's offensive shape started sneaking inward from both flanks, he gave them an outlet on the wing like the one that led to Bright Dike's goal. That's not to say he lacked frustration, but his seems to be more of a controlled frustration.
Geoff - Bright Dike
Hats off to Steven Smith for setting up the goal, but the fact is that Dike used some sort of soccer sorcery in order to nail that one home. Without him the game would have ended in a very disappointing loss instead of just a humdrum draw that should have been a draw, considering how awful DC United were playing. On that note, Dike was also very active around the box and was not without a few more chances. If he keeps this up, I'm having a hard time figuring out a 2013 squad without him.
Stacey - Steven Smith
Though both goals last night went down as unassisted, Smith's work setting up Dike's goal was as good as an assist to me. He was one of the few guys on the field who channeled his frustration with the PK into good soccer, making smart runs and putting his crosses into that perfect spot that's close enough to the goal to be dangerous, but far enough away that it's hard for the keeper to get to the ball. My only complaint was that I think he could have had an even bigger impact on the game if given the chance. He was nearly always making great runs for Songo'o, who more often than not kept the ball for himself.
Ryan - Darlington Nagbe
I know he did not have a lot of influence on the offense but what little he did have helped create some scoring opportunities. His ball to put Steven Smith behind the defense was a perfect through ball and his quick passing in tight places helped keep the possession going. His best contribution to the game was not offensive. When he was switched to the right side after 15 minutes of the game gone he helped shore up the weakest part of Portland's defense and helped shut down Andy Najar.