The Portland Timbers managed to fight their way to a 3-3 tie against the Columbus Crew yesterday despite their opponents, the ref, and themselves all conspiring to keep them from taking any points on the day. The day saw some terrible performances and some outstanding ones, so there were plenty of potential picks for the Man of the Match.
Ryan: Darlington Nagbe
If I had to choose someone I would go with Nagbe. He was everywhere and did everything he could to will the Timbers to the win. He tracked back and dispossessed players, he cut through the defense like a bit knife through butter and he even played left back at the end of the game.
Stacey: Darlington Nagbe
On Twitter I called Nagbe "the Timbers' best defender." He was the only attacking player picking up some of the slack on defense when the back line desperately needed help, especially when they were down to three at the back. But even though he was called on to do a lot on defense, he was still great going forward too, giving the Crew defense fits.
Kelly: Jack Jewsbury
Played solid despite the flip-flopping from side to side and the teammates/clowns around him. Loved his lunging effort to tap the ball back to Will Johnson for the team's second goal.
Michael: Jack Jewsbury
His assist on Will Johnson's goal was the highlight but Jewsbury, who had to change positions mid-game for the second straight week, was solid throughout. Attacking players always get these 'awards' but Jack's been very good since returning to the starting line-up.
Kevin: Ben Zemanski
Call me crazy and many probably will but I'm going with Zemanski. And for one reason. His near full field run up the right that almost got Johnson a goal. My reasoning here is simple. Before this you could tell we were down a man. After this it really seemed to give the Timbers confidence and the rest of the match I couldn't tell we were playing down a man at all.
Will: Ben Zemanski
Kevin may have one reason for picking Zemanski, but I can think of 39. Zemanski stepped in to the Timbers line-up and was immediately effective as the team's pivot, providing cover for the defense and simple, accurate passes to hold possession. What made his 39 of 42 passing completion rate so impressive though was that he completed passes with his head, something that the Timbers have been utterly incapable of doing this year. Pulling Zemanski for a more offensive player may have been the right call at the time, but his shift was still an impressive one.
Who was your Man of the Match against the Crew? Vote in the poll below and let us know why in the comments below.