The Portland Timbers got their playoff dreams back on track last night with a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Timbers ground out a solid first half performance before pouring on the pressure in the second and taking complete control of the match.
With a rare shutout and three goals for the Timbers, there were excellent performances all over the pitch in the rivalry match, so making our picks for the Man of the Match was not easy. Most of us managed to winnow it down and make a pick, so check out our nominees for the Man of the Match and make your own in the comments.
Kevin: Alvas Powell
First off, hat tip to all the fellow TA who survived inside that sweltering heat box of BC Place with me tonight. No clue why they didn't open the roof; it was awful in there. But what wasn't awful was the performance. Could that be the best game we had all season? I think so. My MOTM is Alvas Powell. The entire first half I was impressed with his play. Winning everything he could and only getting beat by Manneh once. In the second half he continued his high work rate and drew first blood. I've never been so hot in my entire life and now I'm going to go back to chugging Gatorade like it's going out of style.
Kelly: Alvas Powell
Portland desperately needed some speed and attacking prowess in defense, but with Powell those things usually come with a healthy serving of boneheadedness as well. Not this time. He always looks calm, but against Vancouver he actually was; composed and thoughtful in his runs, movement, and positioning. He'll probably have some more questionable plays going forward, but it's nice to see he might actually be able to live up to the hype of "right back of the future."
Michael: Pa Modou Kah/Liam Ridgewell
While Carl Robinson probably made a mistake in starting Erik Hurtado instead of Darren Mattocks, the Timbers' center back pairing did a pretty nice job. That allowed the outside backs to fly forward without worry and gave Diego Chara the freedom to harass Pedro Morales all night. Other players had much sexier lines on the box score and get their names in the headlines, but if Portland's center backs were as poor as they were last week against Seattle, the rest of the plan would have been compromised.
Ryan: Alvas Powell
Many times this year Portland has lacked width in their attack and it has allowed teams to clog the middle and starve the attacking players. Alvas and Rodney Wallace provided the much needed width. Powell's runs also pinned Vancouver's left side back and he was a dangerous option with his speed when the ball was switched.
Warning: the last two picks should be taken with a several grains of salt.
Will: Darlington Nagbe
Look, I have not yet gotten to watch this match, just the highlights, but Nagbe's sudden move away from Matias Laba and weaving run through the defense before slipping the ball through to Rodney Wallace in the box for the Timbers' third goal was magical. I probably could have watched the whole match in the amount of time I have devoted to watching and re-watching that run and pass.
Hyperbole? Definitely, but what a sight for sore eyes after last week's debacle.
Stacey: Stacey Neve
I pick myself for Woman of the Match. I missed my fourth match of the season last night, the most games I've missed in a single MLS season. The Timbers are 4-0-0 in those games. You're welcome.
Who was your pick for the Timbers' Man of the Match? Vote in the poll below and let us know why you made your pick in the comments.