Another frustrating result for the Timbers but still a lot of positives to take away from the game. Here is the game flow with some observations.
Kick off to 15'
It is great to see that even when the Portland Timbers depth players trot out they play the same system. This makes it easier for them to step into the first team if they need to. From the very beginning it was apparent that Portland would be playing high pressure with Michael Nanchoff and Frederic Piquionne applying pressure on the defenders. Portmore United on the other hand almost dropped off into their half when Portland established possession and applying token pressure. Both teams looked a little out of sync with a lot of heavy touches and errant passes in the first 15 minutes.
15' to 30'
While in the opening minutes the possession was about equal after Portland settled into a better rhythm and started to dominate the possession. With the game titled towards Portmore's goal the attacking position of all the layers moved farther up the field and pushed Portmore's defensive position right on top of their penalty area. When Portland did create a goal scoring opportunity it came through play on the wings and crosses into the penalty area, unfortunately no Timber was able to get on the end of a lot of the crosses or if they did put the shot/header on frame.
30' to Halftime
Portland's pressure continued in the later stages of the half and continued to turn Portmore over either in their half or just into Portland's half. When Portmore did get forward on occasion it was usually due to an errant or ill advised pass from one of the defenders or defensive midfielders. The turnovers gave Portmore a counter attack which played to their strengths, namely athletic ability and speed and while they looked dangerous Futty Danso and Rauwshan McKenzie were able to stop the attacks before they got to Andrew Weber.
Restart to 60'
After the restart the game slowed down as if the restart hindered more than it helped get the legs back under both teams. Part of the change in the game had to do with Portmore no longer sitting back and allowing Portland to pass the ball but instead they were applying higher pressure and forcing the CB's into errant passes. In order to apply the high pressure Portmore hand to change their formation from a lone striker to two up top and this also changed the spaces in the defense, which affected Portland's offense and the flow of the game.
60' to 75'
As Portland started to adjust to Portmore's formation and tactic change they started to generate more goal scoring chances. Instead of attacking down the flank and looking for the cross like they had in the first half the Timbers played more to the feet or the head of a central Piquionne and Nanchoff. This more direct style produced numerous shots but none of them were on frame until Nanchoff's goal in the 75 minute.
75' to Final Whistle
The game really started to open up over the last 15 minutes of the game as both teams wanted to net the next goal. Portmore's energy looked to be a little higher than Portland's but this probably had more to do with the 6 subs Portmore used compared to none for the Timbers. In the end Portmore's energy earned them the penalty and the equalizer while Portland's lack of quality in the final third once again let them down.
- Alvas Powell played right mid in the second half and looked like he was a little lost defensively but did hit some decent crosses into the box.
- Futty and McKenzie looked shaky at times possession wise but they did well on the set pieces.
- Piquionne looked one step slow tonight and a little off with his touch.
- The rookies showed promise but also showed their inexperience with some errant passes and a few hospital balls.
- Weber looked like a serviceable backup to Ricketts but I am not sure he would be able to be a regular starter if Ricketts goes down for an extended period of time.
- Based on tonight's game it looks like the Timbers have more depth in the fact that they have players who play well in Porter's system.
- Both the reserves and the first team struggled in the final third with their shots. Hopefully the finishing will come.