The Portland Timbers managed a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire last night that saw a number of fringe players make big contributions. With players fighting for spots in the XI, spots in the 18, and spots on the roster, playing time was at a premium last night.
While some big questions remain after the match, there were plenty of positives to take away from it that made picking a Man of the Match surprisingly hard in this one. Check out our picks and share yours in the comments below.
Chris Rifer: Dairon Asprilla
He still has some progress to make and gets caught holding the ball too long once in a while, but Caleb Porter was right about Asprilla when he said he brigs a new dimension to the team. He was sharp offensively, but what really caught my eye was his defensive effort. Still, I wonder whether Asprilla and Powell (both of whom like to take players on with the ball at their feet) are suited to coexist on the right side.
Kevin McCamish: Dairon Asprilla
Dangerous and Awe Inspiring. Resourceful. Oozing with Nimbleness.
Agile and Skillful Player. Really Impressive in Locomotion. Learning but Adroit.
Will Conwell: Darlington Nagbe
Nagbe looked good as a second striker below Fanendo Adi as he consistently occupied multiple defenders in the center of the pitch. The usual Nagbe absurd dribbling and moments of ball control-related brilliance were there, as was a willingness to pull the trigger that Timbers fans have been missing for quite some time. It would have been nice for him to find a goal, but as it was we will have to settle for Nagbe just being the best player on the pitch for long stretches of the second half.
Chris Gluck: George Fochive
There were a number of different things going on last night to include the experiment with the front two. The one that interested me the most was how well our two young midfielders would perform. And in that respect George Fochive outperformed Nick Besler. Not because Nick isn't physical - it's more than that. In my view George did better in connecting the forwards and defenders on both sides of the pitch - and - his passing accuracy was simply better. I lost track of the number of errant passes by Besler - and as a young midfielder ball control is a must.
There are our picks for last night's Man of the Match; vote for yours in the poll and let us know why in the comments below.