The Portland Timbers came away from their second match of the season against Real Salt Lake with a 3-3 tie on Wednesday night. It was a remarkably inconsistent night for the Timbers, who looked like sure bets to win, or lose, or win at various points throughout the game, an issue that applied to individual players as well.
Picking a Man of the Match out of that mess was no easy task, but we managed it. Here are our picks:
Andy: Darlington Nagbe
On a night when many of the Timbers weren't at the top of their game, Darlington was the one guy RSL seemed to lack an answer to. He made just three errant passes the whole game and strung together a couple of impressive series that got him and his teammates into dangerous positions. Unfortunately for him, he spent too much of the game covering the defensive side of the field rather than getting forward and creating those chances.
Ryan: Diego Valeri
His early miss aside Valeri had a very productive game. His free kick to earn the first goal was perfect and his PK looked easy but his biggest influence was in his distribution. He found the pockets of space in RSL's formation and exploited them on numerous occasions. He played his teammates into dangerous areas and if they had their shooting boots on may have done more with those chances.
Michael: Diego Valeri
For the second straight game, he was the best player on the field for the Timbers. That was a less noteworthy distinction on Wednesday, but Valeri's service and combinations were first rate for most of the night. He definitely should've scored in the first moments of the game, but he more than made up for it in creating chances for himself and others throughout the game. Additionally, Valeri's removal thrust the Timbers into a confused state over the game's final moments. Sometimes the game's top player is clarified by what happens when he's no longer on the field.
Stacey: Darlington Nagbe
Nagbe was a really important factor on defense for the Timbers, which did have the unfortunate side effect of pulling him out of the attack more than was ideal. Even so, he managed to give RSL some trouble with a couple awesome, weaving runs through their back line and some good plays to set his teammates up for chances. If Salt Lake hadn't been so darn good at just sticking a foot or knee in the way to block shots, Nagbe probably would have gotten a goal or an assist in there somewhere.
There are our picks, but what are yours? Vote in the poll below and let us know why in the comments.