The Portland Timbers managed to raise themselves from the brink of playoff contention last week when they managed to beat the LA Galaxy at home 2-1. The game, at large, was a fairly thrilling experience. Both teams were taking chances and both teams seemed desperate for the three points on the line. Thanks to one stoppage time goal, however, the Portland Timbers managed to rise above their southern Californian rivals.
Here are your player ratings.
Donovan Ricketts - 9
Easily the man of the match was Ricketts. Let's be honest here, if you're giving MOTM to anyone else, you weren't paying attention. While AJB got us the win, Ricketts gave us the ability to get that win. - pctx
Stacey: Caleb Porter downplayed the "kept us in the game" rhetoric in postgame, but Ricketts had a number of big moments, including his save on Juninho's free kick, which was nothing short of fantastic. Bless those long limbs.
Jack Jewsbury - 6.5
Will: Jack turned in another one of his well positioned games, turning up at the right spot and the right time over and a over as a part of a good overal defensive effort. It was toward the end of the game, however, that his presence was really felt as, with many players flagging, his good positioning and smart play kept his flank locked down while the rest of the defense began to fray.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste - 8
This could very well be looked back on as Jean-Baptiste's breakout game and not just for the stoppage time goal either. The guy is twenty-one an he made Robbie Keane look silly more than once the other night. He's still making his fair share of mistakes and boneheaded moves but with all the veteran support surrounding him, look for him to mature fast. He will be one of Portland's first choice defenders for a long time if some European club doesn't snatch him up. - Burnsbabe
Andy: That's two last-minute point-getting goals AJB has been involved in this year (the first being his assist of Wallace's equalizer in Seattle), and I can't wait for the next one. To go with his goal-scoring heroism, AJB had a strong game on the back line, although his concentration and teamwork still need improvement, as he is still prone to some basic mistakes.
Futty Danso - 7
Stacey: Futty was somewhat overshadowed by his partner's great performance and game-winning goal, but he also had a good night on the back line and did his part to keep Robbie Keane off the score sheet. There were however one or two occasions when he stepped up to try to cut out a pass but failed to do so, leaving his teammates to cover while he tried to get back in position.
Michael Harrington - 6
Geoff: Kind of a humdrum night for Harrington. I don't know if it was an off-night for him, or if LA was just plain more than he could handle, but the Harrington we saw against LA was not the same Harrington we've grown accustomed to. Here's hoping he's able to regroup by the next game against the Philadelphia Union.
Ben Zemanski - 6
Zemanksi gets a lot of flack from the fans, but I think he was the best midfielder in this game. This is partly because the Diegos weren't on their game, but mostly because he was showing hussle and skills we haven't seen before. - Anonymous
Geoff: When there is no Will Johnson to call upon, Ben Zemanski actually seems to make for a solid substitute. I wouldn't have said that before the LA game, but Zemanski seemed to make much of the same all-important plays that Will Johnson does to break up an attack or help drive the ball through the midfield.
Diego Valeri - 6
Andy: Valeri added two to his team-leading assist total, which now stands at six. And, even better, they came on set-pieces, a part of his game that has oft been maligned, at least as compared to Will Johnson. But it's clear that he's not as comfortable nominally as a right wing as he is in the center of the pitch, nor does he particularly enjoy three opposing players crowding him constantly. I expect he'll be rooting against Costa Rica in the knockout stage of the Gold Cup.
Diego Chara - 6.5
Chara is my favorite Timber, but he snuffed out the offense several times and I had to ding him for it. A 4-on-3 breakway and he makes a horrible back pass that kills it. Another similar event five minutes later. He gets +1 for attempting the bicycle, but -1 for hacking it. - Anonymous
Will: With LA's organized, pressing midfield things were always going to be hard on Chara's generally immaculate passing game. Nine mislaid passes from the Timbers midfielder may be among the highest he has missed this season, but with 41 passes completed he kept his accuracy over 80%. Chara also, as usual, came up big time and again on defense, bailing out a back line that had its hands full with Zardes and Keane on several occasions.
Darlington Nagbe - 7
Andy: It's all coming together. He's playing, in my estimation, the best soccer of his career right now, and every week it seems opposing sides can do less and less about it without fouling him.
Ryan Johnson - 6.5
Ryan Johnson will be underrated for this one. But, the number of times he became a defender breaking up an LA attack was astonishing. He worked his tail off and deserves some credit for doing everything he could to help the team get a result in this game. - GoldenGoal
Will: RJ was always going to have a tough time matched up against one of the league's premier defenders in Omar Gonzales, but he represented himself well, getting around the big Galaxy defender several times out wide and giving him all he could handle in the air. When Johnson got pushed to the left wing with the inclusion of Frederic Piquionne he actually looked even better. Johnson has always been a solid defender at the front and he exhibited that well as he helped to shore up the left flank ahead of Michael Harrington. The fact that he was going up against Not-Omar also helped his performance to shine out wide.
Kalif Alhassan - 4.5
Kalif earned a solid 5. Typical match for him--something terrific followed by two or three turnovers, then something amazing again just as your about to write him off. - TheMightyG
Geoff: Some solid passes, but overall I feel like Alhassan is regressing. He's constantly putting too much effort into his own footwork and that, invariably, leads to him giving away the ball.
Frederic Piquionne - 6.5
Piquionne was the best player on the field for his short stint. The back heel pass to his lift, the pirouette, his speed going forward and tracking back... He adds something up front that Ryan Johnson just isn't capable of, and that's nothing to be ashamed of for Johnson. Piquionne is just the best forward the Timbers have had over the last 3 years. - Jake Squid
Geoff: Piquionne brings something to the forward position than no other player does: a calming, collected influence. Where Ryan Johnson is able to score goals by running at defenders and being on the end of through balls. Piquionne's ability to keep a collected head and play the game in an intelligent matter showcase why he is probably our starter throughout the season. Against LA, his substitution coming on to the game further highlighted his abilities.
Jose Adolfo Valencia - N/A
I'll give an honorary 9 to Valencia for his 93rd minute hustle to win that last corner. The kid needs some recognition to boost his confidence, and AJB doesn't come out of this game as a hero without el Trencito. - GorgeCorps17
Stacey: Trencito didn't come on until the 85th minute, but that turned out to be all the time he needed to show off his ability to make something out of nothing. That pass from Diego Valeri looked pretty hopeless, destined to be an LA goal kick, but somehow Valencia managed to chase it down and salvage the corner that won the game.
Sal Zizzo - N/A
Geoff: Zizzo was not on the field long enough to be properly graded.