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Portland Timbers Postscript: In Control

The Portland Timbers spent 80 minutes wearing down the opposition with quality passing and staunch defending, before exploding for three late goals to seal an important win.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers


The highest point total the Timbers have had in an MLS season
(and the Timbers' current point total)


Ratio of successful Timbers passes to successful Toronto FC passes.


Number of Timbers players with more than 50 successful passes


Number of Toronto players with more than 30 successful passes


Number of MLS players with more assists than Diego Valeri


Number of Timbers players with at least 6 goals, according to @TheMikeDonovan
(no other team has more than 3)

Moment of the Match

A match ending 4-0 is going to have some thrilling, if perhaps one-sided, highlights. But for me, the moment of this match was its most boring: the one-minute-ten-second intermission that came from 64:29 to about 65:39. It will make no highlight reels, except as a live action version of this all-time favorite Simpsons bit, but it was a demonstration of just how thoroughly the Timbers controlled the match, well before they broke it wide open.

Toronto had come out of the locker room, after conceding a goal in first half stoppage time, with a sense of urgency, challenging every ball and trying to get under the Timbers' skin. For a little while it looked like they had the Timbers on the back foot, particularly when Robert Earnshaw dummied a pass from Darel Russell that almost made it to the feet of Andrew Wiedeman if not for a timely block by Milos Kocic.

Rather than try to work the ball up the field again from the restart shortly after that close call, the Timbers slowed the game down with a sequence of 20 passes between the center backs, Darlington Nagbe, and Will Johnson. As the ball went back and forth, Toronto stubbornly refused to challenge for it, and Johnson held it ... held it ... held it ... before once again passing back to Pa Modou Kah.

It was Johnson's way of telling Toronto, "We're not going to let you put ten behind the ball and hope for a counter-attack opportunity to equalize. You will need to chase us."

And chase they did. By the 80th minute they were all out of gas.

Injuries and Bookings

Thankfully, there were no injuries to report on Saturday, although Diego Valeri was playing hurt and was not present at training this morning. Will Conwell will be updating us on all the players currently recovering from injuries.

Will Johnson earned is fourth yellow card of the season for pacing out the eight yards referee Armando Villareal gave him before a free kick. As right as he may have been, he'll have to curtail such activities over the next three games to avoid a suspension.

Rodney Wallace was also booked on Saturday -- it was his third of the season.

Around the League

Seattle Sounders 2:1 Chicago Fire

Mike Magee got the scoring started on Saturday, but Seattle tied it up before the end of the first half. An 89th minute own goal sealed the win as Seattle kept their hot streak going even without their national team players.

LA Galaxy 0:1 Colorado Rapids

One team that did not fare as well without its international players was the Galaxy, which was shut out by the Colorado Rapids for the second time this season. Colorado stayed level with the Timbers with the win and will host Dallas this coming weekend.

FC Dallas 3:1 Vancouver Whitecaps

Dallas continued its climb back up the Western Conference standings with a solid home win against Vancouver that featured two Goal of the Week contenders.