The Portland Timbers managed a 0-0 draw against the New York Red Bulls today, riding the strong goalkeeping of Jake Gleeson to the shutout.
The first half was a largely futile one, with both teams looking disquieted by early injuries. The injury bug hit the Timbers in just the first minute of the game as Darren Mattocks seemed to roll his ankle while competing for the ball along the touch line. New York were forced to take off center back Gideon Baah in the 22nd minute.
New York mainstay Dax McCarty also took at knock in the first half when he clashed heads with Fanendo Adi while going for a header. The moment left McCarty bleeding from the mouth, but the Red Bulls’ captain was packed full of gauze and returned to the pitch.
The Timbers almost got on the board in the 11th minute off a quick break down the pitch. Finding Lucas Melano out wide on the left flank, the young Argentine was able to bring the ball down and hit a hard, rising volley on goal that looked destined for the back of the net, until Luis Robles managed to get a hand to it and push the ball wide.
The Red Bulls also had one good chance on goal in the first half: a bullet shot from Felipe that dipped on Gleeson’s goal, but the Timbers’ keeper was able to knock the ball away.
Both teams rallied in the second half, starting to generate more than in the tightly contested first. Ben Zemanski almost opened the scoring in the 56th minute as a ball was cleared to him outside the NY box. Taking it on the volley, Zemanski hit a curling shot that saw the ball slam into the upper ninety of the Red Bulls’ goal as Robles looked on, stunned.
New York had their chance in the 76th minute as Felipe got on the ball in the Timbers box. With the Timbers’ defense appealing for offside, Gleeson rushed out and made himself big, getting an arm on Felipe’s shot and preserving the draw.
In the waning seconds of the match, Felipe found himself in on goal again, jumping on the ball inside the Timbers’ box and hitting a quick shot as the defenders reeled around him. With Gleeson seemingly flat footed, Felipe looked good for the game winner only for the Timbers keeper to some how get a hand to the ball and push it up and over the bar.
The Timbers are back in action on Wednesday when they host the Montreal Impact at Providence Park.