So many words can be used to describe the Portland Timbers' performance against the Houston Dynamo, but I'll still with just one: dominating. While Houston certainly had their chances, especially during a 10-15 minute run in the first half, the rest of the game, the possession, and pretty much every other stat was dominated by the Timbers. While we've grown accustom to a similar trend across every game so far this season, this is the first time they've been able to leverage it into an actual win. The best part of all this is how it translates into how each player performed throughout.
Here are the individual player ratings:
Donovan Ricketts - 7
Andy: First clean sheet of the season and a solid performance -- but the key stat for Ricketts on Saturday: 1 successful dribble. No more of these, please.
Jack Jewsbury - 6
Will: Returning to the right back position, Jewsbury had a quietly competent night on Saturday. Jewsbury passed well, defended well, and was generally solid for 90 minutes.
David Horst - N/A
Geoff: I decided not to rate Horst for this match due to his injury in the 18th minute. It just wasn't enough time, especially in the beginning to score him.
Mikael Silvestre - 9
Geoff: Silvestre easily put on his best performance with the Timbers so far this season. Everybody was worried about him after his first abysmal match against the New York Red Bulls. After repelling more than a few attempts by Houston's Guiles Barnes and Cam Weaver, he was able to prove that that first game was more a fluke than anything else.
Michael Harrington - 8
Ryan: He has been the most consistent player on the team and the last game was no different. Harrington's 1v1 defense was stellar against Andrew Driver. The interplay between Harrington and Rodney Wallace was a great thing to see and if it continues will help Portland win a lot more games.
Diego Chara - 8
Will: Chara was everywhere on Saturday night, popping in to make a tackle at one end of the pitch before joining in the attack at the other. Also, did you see that assist (which is one more assist than he had all of last season)? It was divine.
Diego Valeri - 6
Ryan: Before he left the game because of his head injury Valeri was a lot more engaged than the previous two games. Too bad we couldn't see how well he fit in with the new line-up.
Will Johnson - 6
Will: With Diego Chara covering so much ground and the wide players coming back to defend, Will Johnson at times seemed like he did not have much to do compared to what was asked of him against Colorado last week. The stats, however, show that Johnson got forward regularly and was accurate in his passing, a big factor in the team's domination of Houston.
Darlington Nagbe - 8
Stacey: One of many players who was in the running for my man of the match, Nagbe gave Houston's defense tons of trouble when he got the ball and got going. His speed and ability to change direction are just incredible. Deservedly got credit for the assist on the second goal and while the "hockey assist" was taken away, his involvement in the play leading up to the first goal really can't be ignored.
Ryan Johnson - 9
Ryan: Scoring a brace was exactly what RJ needed to boost his confidence and to boost the Timbers' confidence going into a home and home with San Jose.
Rodney Wallace - 7
Andy: After appearing as a substitute in the first four matches of the season, RodWall handsomely rewarded Caleb Porter for giving him the start. He did well to keep the Houston attack at bay down his side of the field, combined well with his teammates in the midfield, and very nearly scored.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste - 7
Stacey: I knew AJB had it in him. He had a moment or two of slightly sketchy defending, but, as we all know, never a gaffe that led to a goal.
Kalif Alhassan - 6
Will: Compared to last year or the year before, Kalif's game has grown by leaps and bounds and we were fortunate to see his skills on display against Houston. The invention, combination, and trickery were all there, but we also saw some of the downsides to Kalif as well with some maddeningly inconsistant passing and a general lack of urgency when closing down his man (although at least he was closing down his man) hindering his rating in my book.
Frederic Piquionne - N/A
Geoff: Coming on in the 88th minute, there's simply no way we can legitimately judge Piquionne on a numerical scale. Still, he certainly made the most of his time. In his few few seconds on the field he was very aggressive and even got a shot off.
What are your player ratings for the match?