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Portland Timbers Postscript: Three Points, Second Place

The Portland Timbers are now alone in second place, on both points and points per match, after their 3-0 defeat of Chivas USA.

You see, Will, in the US, we indicate "three" like so...
You see, Will, in the US, we indicate "three" like so...
USA TODAY Sports Images

By the Numbers


Number of Portland Timbers players who completed at least 30 successful passes against Chivas USA


Number of Chivas players who completed at least 30 passes


Number of MLS veterans playing for the Timbers who have already met or exceeded their prior season scoring records
(Rodney Wallace and Will Johnson)


Number of minutes since the last time a team scored against the Timbers at Jeld Wen Field


Number of MLS teams, including the Timbers, with five or fewer goal scorers


Excluding the Timbers, average points per match of teams with five or fewer goal scorers
(good enough for 16th place overall)

Moment of the Match

In the 32nd minute, Diego Valeri picked up a loose ball outside the Timbers penalty area and flicked the ball to Darlington Nagbe. Nagbe one-timed it to the right wing, where Diego Chara was racing forward. Chara delivered a strong pass forward to Ryan Johnson, who was running towards the sideline, aware that Nagbe was filling the vacant space behind him.

Johnson back-heeled the ball right into Nagbe's stride, who let the momentum of the pass carry him into the center of the pitch. Nagbe put a single touch on the ball to move it forward while he set up a pass back to Valeri, who had been making a run to his left. Valeri settled the pass, cut back to his right to evade Mario "hater of children" de Luna, and finished the counter-attack with a curling shot that bounced high off the cross bar.

With the exception of the final result, that whole sequence was a thing of pure beauty.

It happened again two minutes later, when Donovan Ricketts threw the ball out of the penalty area to Valeri, who passed to Ryan Johnson in the center circle, who then flicked a lofted ball into the path of a streaking Rodney Wallace. Wallace controlled the ball with his head before poking a chip over the Chivas keeper for the score.

Both sequences were exemplary of Portland's proficiency on counter-attacks.

For all the talk of possession and passing and "Porterball," counter-attacks like those described above have provided a hefty share of Portland's scoring opportunities. Their ability to quickly and fluidly move the ball -- and the team -- out of the defensive third and into a dangerous position has been vital to the team's success all season.

That has especially been the case at home, where visiting teams have increasingly tended to play with a very defensive posture (although it's hard to argue that was Chivas' strategy Sunday).

Heck, if the counter-attack thing continues to work this well, the Timbers might as well start intentionally kicking the ball over their own byline, just for the opportunity to counter after the corner-kick.

Injuries and Bookings

None and none. I'll take some more of those, please.

As for Mario de Luna, what exactly were you shaking your head at, after getting a yellow for shoving a ball boy?

Around the League

Cascadia 10:1 California

Yes, they were all home games, but still, the three Cascadia teams laid waste to the Golden State this weekend, showing those Bear Republicans how we do things in the Columbia District. As much as I loathe our next opponent, I couldn't resist giving a little fist pump to Russell Teibert's brace in the Vancouver Whitecaps' 3-1 win against the LA Galaxy. And with regard to that hated fishing village, let's just say I'm glad someone gave a nice, warm "Welcome back" to Alan Gordon, as the Seattle Sounders trounced the San Jose Earthquakes 4-0.

Montreal Impact 3:2 Real Salt Lake

A wild one in Montreal started with Lovel Palmer creating a goal on a shot from distance kept low enough to deflect in. Then after RSL went up 2-1 in the 77th, Marco di Vaio took advantage of a blown offside call to level, and the Impact scored the winner in the second minute of stoppage time.