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Portland Timbers vs.New York Red Bulls Player Ratings: Possession Edition

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The Portland Timbers opened their season in a thrilling 3-3 game against the New York Red Bulls. Here's how each player performed.

Stacey Neve, StumptownFooty.com

I hope you have had enough time to digest Sunday's game. We certainly have. There were positives and negatives to take away from it, no doubt about it. Reactions from fans have been wildly scattered across the board from very positive to incredibly negative. But then I guess that's to be expected when the team goes down 3 goals in the first half only to bounce back in the second.

Enough about the team as a whole though, here are our individual player ratings:

Starting XI

Donovan Ricketts - 3

Andy: I'm not going to place the lion's share of blame on the Jamaican for any of the goals, but the guy clearly needs to work on communication. I realize it's deafeningly loud in the North End, but somehow he needs to communicate with his defense better. On the first goal, he needed to tell Silvestre to let the ball go; on the second goal, he needed to tell AJB that Espindola had no teammates to cross to, because otherwise he didn't know if he could challenge Espindola directly.

Ryan Miller - 5

Stacey: Three goals against would make it seem that the whole back line was truly awful, but the outside backs had a decent outing. Miller Handled himself well on defense, but continues to serve up disappointing crosses when he gets on the attack.

Mikael Silvestre - 2

Andy: I'd give him a zero for his first half performance, but he definitely turned things around in the second half and very nearly earned an assist for what would have been the most epic goal in Timbers history. Still, if he had been awake in the first half, the Timbers would have two more points to start the season.

Andrew Jean-Baptiste - 6

Ryan: He is still learning in the back and could have made a different decision on the second goal to attack Espindola instead of playing the cross. However his 1v1 defending was topnotch and he used his strength well against a very good front line.

Michael Harrington - 6

Stacey: In addition to showing good positioning and awareness on defense, Harrington is developing a connection with Nagbe that could lead to some awesome things on the attack as the season goes forward.

Diego Chara - 7

Ryan: He was everywhere and closed players down so fast that New York rarely got over the midfield in the second half. His passing accuracy was over 90% with 66 successful passes.

Will Johnson - 8

Andy: When anyone associated with the Timbers mentions Will Johnson, the word "fight" usually follows closely behind. He's not just the team captain -- he owns that pitch, and he will fight to defend it from opposing players and Gatorade bottles alike.

Diego Valeri - 9

He scored an absolutely unbelievable goal, orchestrated everything in the midfield, had a sublime touch on the ball, and still worked hard to pressure New York when they had possession. Valeri was, without a doubt, the best player on the field.

Kalif Alhassan - 6

Andy: Aside from some miscommunications with Ryan Miller on the flank, Sunday was yet another solid opening day for Kalif. A perfect assist to set up Valeri's goal preceded generally solid passing, a couple of nice looks at goal and some well won fouls in dangerous areas. Here's hoping the opener isn't again the high point of Alhassan's season.

Darlington Nagbe - 6

Andy: To me Nagbe started the game with a 3 rating and steadily improved throughout the match until he hit about a 9, so this rating is sort of an average of the extremes. He seemed to continue to not know where to run in the early going, but by the end he was almost directing traffic, showing the sort of creativity we know he's capable of -- and the physical strength required to execute that creativity.

Ryan Johnson - 5

Will: Ryan Johnson put in a characteristically hard working game and even got some dangerous looking shots off near the end of the match, but neither he nor his shot placement was quite where it needed to be in order to bag the winning goal. Of course, if his 89th minute volley had not been right at the keeper or his stoppage time bicycle kick gone inside rather than outside the post then this rating would probably be an 11.

Subs

Jose Adolfo Valencia - 6

Andy: Super-sub if there ever was one. Given his propensity to steal the ball from his own teammates (which I saw him do again on Sunday) I don't think he's a very good fit for the starting squad quite yet. But why not give him the green light to have his way with an exhausted backline for twenty minutes? At the very least it will nearly always be entertaining.

Rodney Wallace - 7

Ryan: He was a game changer, literally, he came on and was able to win a lose ball that then turned into the equalizing goal.

Sal Zizzo - 6

Will: Zizzo covered a lot of ground after coming in for the flagging Ryan Miller and helped the Timbers keep pressure on the rapidly collapsing Red Bulls in the final minutes of Sunday's match. Several good tackles, consistantly tracking back, and some halfway decent crossing made for a nice showing at right back for Sal. Of course, the fact that the Timbers back are often further up the pitch than their midfielders certainly made sure Zizzo was in familiar territory.

What are your individual player ratings for Sunday's match?