In the Portland Timbers' fifth straight game without a win, their second since the regular season started, the team took their time getting started but eventually were able to build up some momentum and pull out a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire.
The Timbers' once again lacked a truly standout 90' performance, although their improved second half play provided hope for the team. There were, however, several players who stood out from the rest and we chose from them for our picks for the Man of the Match.
Will: Diego Chara
It will come as no surprise to many Timbers fans that, according to Opta, of the Timbers' 21 total "tackles won", Chara had eleven of them. As always, the diminutive Colombian was everywhere he needed to be, whether that meant breaking up plays at one end of the pitch or providing an outlet pass at the other. Where Chara really shined, however, was in his late-game distribution. Once he started picking out Jack Jewsbury's runs down the right with some long, pinpoint passes, the Timbers were able to pull the Fire defense apart and get the equalizer (and almost the game-winner).
Michael: Jack Jewsbury
In addition to his role in creating the Timbers' only goal, Jewsbury was did very well defensively. Jack has emerged as one of the more reliable players for the Timbers and deserves credit for adapting to his role as right back and complementing the attack while providing solid cover on the right.
Kevin: Gaston Fernandez
I'm going with Fernandez. I felt he improved in the left wing spot compared to last game. And he was more dangerous going forward this game compared to last. The difference he makes though is when he is up top. Which was reinforced with another game-tying goal after being moved up after Urruti was subbed off.
Stacey: Gaston Fernandez
Thank goodness someone on this team can score right now, right? I debated whether the couple of really good chances Fernandez missed should disqualify him, but ultimately he got those chances, and at last the equalizing goal, by putting himself in really good, dangerous spots on the field. He set up some good chances for his teammates, including a great one for Will that the captain got a little too fancy with, and his one-touch passing and his work in tight spaces were excellent as well.
Ryan: Donovan Ricketts
Without Donovan Ricketts the Portland Timbers would be in the exact same position as last year with only 1 point to show for their two home games. Ricketts made his saves look routine and with Chicago poised to steal all three points on a set piece he made the save at the far post which helped Portland earn at least 1 point. Ricketts has continued to be in top form even though the rest of the team looks out of sorts at times.
There are our picks, but what are yours? Vote in the poll below and let us know why in the comments.