We knew it was coming. The Portland Timbers have simply been too good on the road to not eventually earn that first, elusive win. That's not to say they're playing perfectly. Both goals by Sporting Kansas City's Chance Myers show that's the case. They're simply much better away from home than they were last year.
Additionally, while the Timbers did indeed earn their first road win on Saturday, what I find more impressive is that they've yet to lose on the road. I love being able to say that.
Here are the individual player ratings:
Donovan Ricketts - 8
Ryan: He secured the full three points with another SotW candidate with a reaction save in stoppage time of the second half. His confidence is sky high and he is starting to show how good he used to be. Hopefully the defense in front of him continues to improve too.
Michael Harrington- 7
Ryan: Harrington looked like he was playing with a controlled fury and he used it to Portland's advantage. By switching Harrington to the right side Caleb Porter used Harrington's attacking presence to force Grahams Zusi to play defense and thus taking him out of the game. This was a great bounce back game for Harrington who had his first sub par game of the year at San Jose.
Mikael Silvestre - 8
Stacey: It's getting hard to find new things to say about Silvestre, who had another solid night on the back line. He was especially great at the end of the game when Kansas City was throwing everything they had at the Timbers' goal and Silvestre made a few great tackles and important clearances to help hold the lead. Now, can we get to work on cloning him?
Futty Danso - 3
Geoff: Not a particularly great night for Futty. While it was unfortunate that he had to be subbed out, Futty was caught ball watching on both occasions for Myer's goals. While he's had good games in the past, this certainly wasn't one of them.
Jack Jewsbury - 6
Geoff: Jewsbury had a serviceable night, though he certainly wasn't as rock steady as we've seen from him in his usual right back position. It was, however, a little refreshing to see that he could play left back with a fair amount of confidence. Still, during the final minutes of the game, he began to look a little gassed and Sporting KC certainly exploited that fact.
Will Johnson - 6
Ryan: This was not Will's best game as a Timber but he is a major reason for the early success Portland has felt. His personality and attitude on the pitch have given Portland a boxer's mentality, the ability to stand up to the punishment inflicted by an equally matched opponent. Will doesn't give up and continues to fight even after the team gives up an early goal and this attitude has affected the rest of the team.
Diego Chara - 8
Geoff: Great night, as usual, for Chara. Chara was everywhere where the Timbers needed him in the midfield. In fact, I think he shut down much of the possession that Sporting KC attempted in the first and early part of the second half. His beautiful assist to bring the Timbers in the lead sealed the deal for the holding midfielder.
Diego Valeri - 8
Stacey: Even though the Timbers were only without Valeri for about a game and two-thirds, that seems like forever now that we've had a couple games to remind us what he can do for the Timbers' attack. On Saturday night he managed several times to find that perfect through-ball to Darlington Nagbe or Ryan Johnson and he was rewarded for his vision and perfectly weighted passes when the Timbers got their second goal.
Darlington Nagbe - 7
Stacey: It was one of the sillier goals the Timbers have scored, but Nagbe did so well to make sure he made contact with that ball from Ryan Johnson even though it was almost behind him. And he pretty much had to, after blowing a great chance earlier in the game when he got behind the SKC defense, but then helped Jimmy Nielsen pad his stats with the easiest save he made all night.
Rodney Wallace - 6
Stacey: Wallace is largely responsible for Sporting Kansas City's second goal, since he was marking Chance Myers when the play began, but then backed off, leaving Futty the immensely challenging task of handling Myers and C.J. Sapong. Late in the game, as stax o' wax pointed out in the comments yesterday, Wallace should have been marking Aurelien Collin when he got a wide open shot in the box that probably shoot have been their equalizer. Wallace did, however, give the Timbers their game-winner and certainly gave Chance Myers and the right side of SKC's defense almost as much trouble as Myers gave the Timbers.
Ryan Johnson - 7
Ryan: Last Week RJ looked out of sync and unable to connect with his teammates. This week he was able to win quite a few long balls and put Sporting's backline under constant pressure with his runs behind the defense. One of the biggest criticisms of RJ before coming to Portland was the lack of goal scoring but in the first 8 games he has scored 4 goals and if he keeps this pace up he will have 17 goals this season.
Ben Zemanski - 4
Andy: Not a great appearance for the utility guy. To be fair, he had a tough job to do, replacing a striker to add a more defensive midfield presence for the final 20 minutes, but typically you want to get through those minutes without picking up a yellow card.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste - 6
Andy: Got the job done in his short stint, getting his head in and clearing the ball during a nervy 20 minutes or so. We'll be relying on him again soon, so I hope that adductor strain is over and done with.
Frederic Piquionne - 7
Andy: A great late game move by Caleb Porter, Piquionne's presence on the field helped relieve the pressure on the backline after about 20 minutes of relentless attack. He did everything he was supposed to do as a late game sub, and nearly set himself up to score, besides. Plus, big fan of the new do.
How would you rate the individual players?