After two strong performances in with two disappointing results, it felt like the Portland Timbers were due. Due for a goal. Due for a win. Due for some relief from the struggles that have plagued them for much of the season.
Instead things only got worse as the Timbers came home and dropped a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls. The visitors came into town on short rest and missing two key players to suspension, but bossed the game for much of the night and were able to keep the clean sheet despite the usual second-half rally from the Timbers.
The Red Bulls opened the scoring in the 43rd minute through a wonder strike from Felipe. Getting the ball 30 yards from goal and with no pressure coming from the Timbers for almost 20 seconds, the New York midfielder walked the ball into the middle of the pitch and unleashed a long range bomb that dipped just below the bar and just above the dive of Adam Kwarasey to open the scoring for New York.
The miserable end to the half was not over there, however, as the Red Bulls would strike again before the first 45 was over. Coming off a Timbers give away, Sacha Kjlestan whipped a long throw into the Timbers' box, finding the head of defender Damien Perrinelle. Perrinelle, towering over his marker, hit a strong header back across the face of goal that dropped over Kwarasey for the Red Bulls' second goal of the night.
Always a second-half team, the Timbers pressed forward after the break, getting off a number of shots, but few quality opportunities.
The Timbers almost managed a goal of their own early in the half, when Will Johnson got on the ball at the top of the Red Bulls box. Touching the ball toward goal, Johnson looked to place a shot just inside the upper ninety of the goal, only to see his strike ping off the top of the crossbar and up into the Timbers Army.
After putting consistent pressure on the Red Bulls for most of the half, the Timbers again were scant inches from getting on the board in the 87th minute as Diego Valeri curled a free kick on goal. Taking a deflection off the wall, the shot wrong-footed Luis Robles, but the New York keeper was able to get back and make a sprawling save. With the ball coming to a rest in the penalty box, Nat Borchers was the first to react, sprinting toward the ball to hammer home to opportunity only to see Robles again get there just in time and knock the ball away and Borchers tried to tuck it home.
The loss leaves the Timbers still in 6th place, just one point above the red line and the lurking San Jose Earthquakes.
The Timbers go on the road for the next match, heading East to face the second place team in the East, the Columbus Crew, on Saturday the 26th.