Great to see Diego Valeri back on the field. It is amazing to see how much one attacking player changes how the Portland Timbers play. Here are the picks for Man of the Match from the gang.
Kevin - Diego Chara
I'm going with Chara. His usual midfield engine self. He was doing good work box to box and really helped keep things going in favor of the timbers. I was particularly impressed with when he gave up the ball and ran 60+ yds to make the recovery. And he had an extremely well timed tackle to prevent a Vancouver chance. And when he literally bounced off Waston at the end he was stunned a bit but got back up and ran full speed all the way back to the other end.
Chris G. - Diego Valeri
Hard to pick out just one player tonight who stood above the rest but... Diego Valeri certainly added juice as the Timbers tried to squeeze one past Vancouver. All told, with his return and the energy he brought,as well as his superb vision - it'd almost be rude not to pick him out as the MotM tonight... And while I cringed when Nagbe missed his PK - I've been cringing more with Diego Valeri missing from this squad!
Will - Alvas Powell
There were so many good performances in this game that I don't want to pick just one. Still, if anyone deserves to be the Timbers Man of the Match it is Powell, who not only neutralized the Whitecaps' until-today white hot winger Darren Mattocks, but also spent a significant part of his shift shutting down the league's co-leading scorer, Octavio Rivero. Plus, Powell was bombing forward all night and providing the sole offensive threat down the right wing while Ishmael Yartey was on the pitch, then later combining effectively with Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri once the dynamic duo began interchanging between the right and center spots in the Timbers' midfield.
Chris R - Jack Jewsbury
Okay, maybe only because people before me took Powell and Chara. But Jewsbury was excellent alongside Chara on Saturday. Although it was a solid performance from the backline, the Timbers' central midfield is really what made it an easy outing for the defense. For much of the evening the counter-happy Whitecaps were completely bottled up, and Jewsbury's tactical discipline was a big reason for that.
Ryan - Alvas Powell
Powell's 1v1 defense might be the best on the team and he showcased that strength again this last weekend. Darren Mattocks and then Kekuta Manneh both tried to get past Powell on multiple occasions but Powell shut both of them down. The left side of Vancouver's attack as a wasteland due to the starvation forced in it from Powell. Combine this with Nat Borchers and Liam Ridgewell having solid games and it means the Timbers had a very solid defensive effort.
Who do you have as MOTM? (Bonus: Give your picture ratings)