The Portland Timbers took control of last night's match against Toronto FC thanks to some impressive play across the pitch. With questions about the resiliency of the team being asked, the Timbers answered emphatically with a 4-0 win.
There were plenty of potential players to pick from for the night's Man of the Match, so here are our choices:
Stacey - Jose Adolfo Valencia
Even without scoring a goal of his own, Valencia played a huge part in the Timbers' win. He drew the foul to set up the first goal, he assisted on the third, and though he won't get the assist on the fourth, Valeri made sure in his celebration that everyone knew who set that up for him. Valencia also truly played "Porterball" last night, more than he has in previous appearances; he was very much involved in those quick passing sequences in and around the box that set up some good chances for Portland.
Andy - Will Johnson
The Timbers had a few legitimate contenders for MOTM, most notably Jose Valencia, but Will Johnson, still smarting from that bone thingy in his shoulder, showed fans just how important he is to this club. He passed the ball 67 times, missing his target on just four, he made crucial stops in the defensive half, and made runs forward as well, one of them leading to his seventh goal of the season. But most importantly, his leadership on the field kept the team pushing forward for the full 90 minutes, a trait that has been lacking in his absence.
Ryan - Diego Chara
Diego really benefited from having Will Johnson back in the lineup. You could probably give both Will and Chara the MOTM. The offense looked fluid and like it wax returning to the "Porter ball" we saw earlier in the season. Chara was his usual self and popped up every where defensively as he disrupted numerous attacks.
Will - Will Johnson
On Friday, Caleb Porter noted that Johnson brings some bite to the Timbers midfield, something that has been missing for the last month during his absence. Against Toronto, Johnson did his best to prove his coach right, showing up at just the right time to put a boot in over and over again. More than that, however, Johnson was also a crucial link in the Timbers' monopoly on possession as the team ended up with the ball for two-thirds of the match. His goal was just payoff for the amount of work put in at the center of the pitch. For all the contributions of a player like Trencito to the attack, the return of Johnson in the midfield puts the Timbers back onto a different level than we have seen in the last few weeks.
Diego Valeri and Kalif Alhassan also impressed me during their shifts last night.
There are our picks, but what are yours? Vote in the poll below and let us know why in the comments.