The Portland Timbers had just about everything possible go wrong in last night's 1-0 preseason loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps: red cards, finishing issues, a preventable defensive lapse on the goal, and, most glaringly, an injury to a key starter: Ben Zemanski's torn ACL.
A midst a surprisingly chippy preseason match that saw things quickly get out of hand without any sort of control from the head referee, the Timbers managed a stout defensive game and some excellent periods of attacking play that were simply unable to be finished off. Those glimpses of light from what was otherwise an unfortunate match, gave us our picks for the Timbers' Man of the Match.
Chris Rifer: Nat Borchers
In a game where not much else went right, the backline continuity was notable. Aside from things getting a little bit loose to open the second half, the Timbers' defending looked quite solid. Borchers was probably the cleanest of the bunch.
Ryan Gates: Nat Borchers
Vancouver had very few opportunities to score and it was due to the work of Nat and his compatriots in the back four. He won just about every aerial threat that came his way and was able to position himself to intercept numerous passes. The silver lining to come out of what seemed like a waste if 90 minutes was the defensive effort by the Timbers.
Kevin McCamish: Alvas Powell
I was most impressed with his ability to get forward without seeming to leave his side of the field in danger. He has definitely matured and I really enjoyed watching him tonight. I haven't checked but I don't think he was culpable in the goal (can't be sure in the buildup but the cross came from the opposite side of the field so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here). He was more active in the first half; quieter in the second. But to be fair no one really impressed me in that second half.
Will Conwell: Ben Zemanski
Zemanski may only have played the first quarter of last night's match, but the extent to which he influenced the match told in the Timbers downward swing after his departure. In the match's early going, Zemanski made several big tackles and was central to the Timbers' efforts to control possession and dictate the pace of the game. The team's defense, specifically Nat Borchers, did well over the course of the 90', but nobody looked like as positive an influence on the team's play as Zemanski in his limited time.
There are our picks for the Timbers' Man of the Match. Make your pick in the poll and let us know why in the comments below.