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  • 04/08/2011 4:43 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    In recognition of the debut of Major League Soccer later than evening, the Oregon House of Representatives is scheduled to declare Thursday to be “Portland Timbers Day” in Oregon.

    To make sure that the vote is unanimous (heh, heh, heh), Timber Joey will be representing the Timbers during the vote, scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday in Salem’s State Capitol building. The club is inviting members of the TA and 107ist to take part in this historic event.

    Meet Joey in the Capitol rotunda at 10:00 a.m.; car-pooling is encouraged. The morning session begins at 11 a.m., and the “Timbers Day” bill, carried by Speaker of the House Dave Hunt (D-Clackamas County) is one of the first items on the agenda.

    The club has asked for an approximate headcount; if you’re interested in going, contact 107ist Board Secretary Roger Anthony at

  • 04/06/2011 4:45 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Next month, Timber Joey and 107ist Board member Sean Moran will be leading the Timbers Army into the fight against children’s cancer.

    For nine years now, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has been raising money in order to fund childhood cancer research. All told, the foundation raised $22 million last year, with $133,000 of that collected in Portland.

    Joey already has his own fund-raising page on the St. Baldrick’s website, and you can go here to donate.

    You can also collect pledges and raise money by shaving your head along with hundreds of others on Saturday, May 14 at Oaks Park. Details for Timbers Army participants are here:

    Joey will set the tone for the event on May 5, when he has his head shaved during Drew Carney’s “Out & About” segment of the “NewsChannel 8 at Sunrise” newscast from 5-7 a.m.

    For his part, Sean has promised to have his head shaved during the bus trip up to Seattle on May 14th – hopefully on a straight, smooth section of I-5.

  • 04/04/2011 4:48 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    What the Timbers Saw

    Normally the TA doesn't bother with monthly gatherings once the season's on, the logic being: "OK, I'm going to see enough of you people over the next eight months, let's not overdo it." (I think of this as one more way in which the Timbers Army is like a real family: sometimes you just need to get the hell away from them.)

    This year though there's a special event planned for Thursday, April 7, one that's more aligned with what the bulk of Portlanders think when they hear the phrase "First Thursday," which is to say: Art.

    From the press release:

    Local Artists Neil Perry and Susannah Kelly, in conjunction with the Timbers Army, are organizing a group show of Timbers-related art to celebrate the team on the eve of their first Major League Soccer game at the newly renovated Jeld-Wen Field.

    What the Timbers Saw will open on April 7th at The Bitter End, located at 1981 W. Burnside, as part of the Timbers Army first Thursday event. The organizers are hoping for a typically buoyant atmosphere.

    “My favorite thing about attending Timbers games is the sense of camaraderie among the crowd, there is a real sense of community and that is something to be proud of’’ said co-curator and artist Susannah Kelly.

    As soccer in Portland approaches the dawn of a new era, excitement about joining MLS builds, and the city’s local artists are paying tribute to the team. The roster includes natives and adopted Portlanders alike. Former club mascot, Timber Jim Serrill, is among those making work for the show, which will showcase two of Portland’s most passionate communities.

    Co-curator Neil Perry said: “My re-location to Portland from the UK was largely down to two things: the internationally renowned art community and some very good friends, members of the Timbers Army, who I met when they visited Sunderland to watch my team play in 2006. It’s an honor to be able to bring these two passionate cultures closer together.”

    30% of sales will be donated to "Operation Pitch Invasion", a local charity dedicated to repairing and maintaining soccer fields in Portland. Members of the 107ist, a supporter run non-profit, created this organization.

    Please contact Neil Perry with any further questions.

    See that last part? It's for a good cause, too. So go to the Bitter End and get some culture, you brutes!

  • 04/03/2011 9:36 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    —by Chris Rifer

    On an April morning in a town southwest of Boston, a young upstart group of men stepped up to take on an elite group. They were outnumbered and outmatched. Our boys were routed. Sent packing with their tails between their legs, only hoping they might fight another day. That afternoon they dusted themselves off and took to the field again. This time, in the town of Concord, our boys stood tall. They won—sort of. Tactically, it was relatively inconsequential. The message it sent, however, was clear. Those rag-tag Americans meant business.

    Saturday was the Portland Timbers’ Concord moment. It was a draw. One point. Still at the bottom of the table. But make no mistake; the Portland Timbers are here to compete.

    The match got off to a familiar start. The first twenty minutes were pretty wide open, with both teams getting a couple chances and not much of the game being played in the middle third. The Timbers seemed to be asserting themselves, but in the 22nd minute, after the Timbers failed to clear a New England corner kick, Stephen McCarthy knocked home a volley from just outside the 18-yard box.

    That was the end of the familiar script, however. The Timbers wouldn’t take long to respond. In the 38th minute, Kenny Cooper gained possession on the left side of the midfield, made a long diagonal run to the right side, and sent a ball into the box for Jeremy Hall. Like so many Timbers crosses in the past two weeks, Hall struggled to get a handle on Cooper’s cross. This time, however, he controlled it just enough to lay it off to an onrushing Jack Jewsbury, whose low strike snuck inside the right post and into the back of the net.

    In the second half, the Timbers continued to assert themselves in possession. While the game turned more to the midfield, the Timbers’ new combination of Kalif Alhassan, James Marcelin, Jewsbury, and Jeremy Hall proved that they were capable of controlling a match in the midfield. The Timbers’ chances culminated in the 70th minute, when Kalif Alhassan’s free kick appeared to beat Revs keeper, Matt Reis, only to find the near post.

    New England made the most of their possession in the second half, producing a number of scoring chances requiring the attention of Portland keeper, Jake Gleeson. The Revs nearly broke through in the 79th minute when Sainey Nyassi—twin brother of former Sounder Sanna Nyassi—pulled his shot wide, rolling perilously in front of goal.

    In the end, however, the Timbers collected a well-earned point in Foxborough. The draw further builds to the momentum established in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Chivas USA in U.S. Open qualifying, and sets the table for the Timbers to open Jeld-Wen Field on April 14th.

    Match Observations

    • The team played with a confidence today that we hadn’t seen until now. Even after conceding the early goal, the Timbers quickly reestablished dominance and found an equalizer. There is a belief about this team that there wasn’t a week ago, and that appears to have made all the difference with results this week.
    • John Spencer made a number of changes to the starting XI before the match, inserting James Marcelin in place of Peter Lowry, Kalif Alhassan for Ryan Pore, and David Horst instead of Kevin Goldthwaite. Each of the three replacements justified the boss’ moves, as the play in both the midfield and backline was the best we have seen it in regular season play this year.
    • As Darlington Nagbe and Sal Zizzo get healthy it is going to be interesting to see what John Spencer does with the wingers. Kalif Alhassan has had some moments of brilliance in both games this week, and considering his youth and potential the Timbers are certainly going to want to keep him on the field quite a bit. It seems that Zizzo and Nagbe would still be the likely starters on the wings, especially if the central midfield continues to play as well as they did against New England, but with those two coming back there is suddenly a glut of viable talent in the outside midfield.
    • Troy Perkins is the starting goalkeeper. Jake Gleeson has certainly performed well, and has shown his tremendous potential. That said, there are still a number of situations in which Gleeson shows his youth. He seems a little bit reluctant to cover up the ball in traffic, often preferring to resort to a sliding tackle, which with an unlucky bounce can yield a rebound goal. Make no mistake, Gleeson has been good—and at times fantastic—but Perkins provides a consistency on goal that Gleeson hasn’t developed yet.
    • After watching the replay on Root Sports, I think this was the team’s best all-around game by far. The individual mistakes that had plagued the side the last two weeks were minimized. Really, nobody had a really bad game. It was the first time all season that I felt like the Timbers were competitive at 11 positions on the field.

    Timbers Grades

    Jake Gleeson, 5.5 Made some very nice saves, but at times was a bit of an adventure in goal. Still, the upside on this kid is tremendous, and doesn’t seem to wide-eyed.

    Rodney Wallace, 5.5 His best match of the season. Didn’t look to get forward as much as he did against Toronto and Chivas, but looked substantially more reliable in defense.

    David Horst, 5.5 There were a few runs that broke the backline early, but as the game went along the backline looked more and more organized. Horst looks to have substantially more chemistry with Brunner than Goldthwaite. At this point, it is the Horstache’s job to lose.

    Eric Brunner, 5 Had a couple rough moments today, losing his footing a couple times in crucial spots. Still, he was the leader of a backline that ably did its job in front of Jake Gleeson.

    Steve Purdy, 5 Probably his most nonchalant performance of the season, and at times seemed to struggle with the pace of Nyassi, but still made a number of his signature timely tackles.

    Kalif Alhassan, 5.5 Showed a little more pace today than I had seen from him in the past. That said, he doesn’t make quite the runs that Ryan Pore is known for, but his distribution on that wing is clearly a cut above right now. His effort on the free kick in the 70th minute was top notch, and was unlucky to not come away with the winner.

    Jack Jewsbury, 7 Man of the match for the Timbers. Obviously was a solid strike on the goal, but was also commanding in the midfield, winning physical tackles and distributing well. The team seems to be taking on his confidence and attitude—exactly what you want from a captain.

    James Marcelin, 5.5 This grade might even be a bit harsh. Paired very well with Jewsbury, repeatedly wining 50-50 balls in the midfield and looking better in distribution than we have seen him.

    Jeremy Hall, 5 Seems to be getting more and more aggressive in going at goal by the game. Made a smart run to the middle of the field in the run up to the goal, and did well to just knock the ball to Jewsbury. That said, still seemed to disappear at times.

    Jorge Perlaza, 4.5 Maybe this is a little generous, but on a second watch of the game, he was only a step off two goals—one on a Steve Purdy cross and another on a rebound of a Kenny Cooper shot. Isn’t creating much off of his own runs, but I think he is closer to being comfortable and productive than I initially thought.

    Kenny Cooper, 6 Was again disruptive up front. Shares the credit for the goal, where he showed his versatility. Basically transformed himself into a winger, made the right pass into the box and set up the equalizer. Continues to earn fouls extremely well, setting up set pieces in dangerous areas, where Jack Jewsbury and company are getting more and more lethal.

    Brian Umony, 5.5 Came on and created a few chances. Was more active up front than Perlaza, even if sometimes a bit too active. Could be an interesting player to watch throughout the season—again another young player that has shown some potential. The guess here is that we see him as a frequent substitute, especially as long as Perlaza is still getting comfortable in MLS.

    Darlington Nagbe, 5 The realistic expectation for today’s appearance was simply for him to get some pitch time, get comfortable, and begin to reestablish some of that chemistry with his teammates. Looked a little bit tentative and lost at times in his short stint, but also showed some flashes of being adept on the ball and doing a good job tracking back.

  • 04/01/2011 5:51 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    —by Andrew Brawley

    Earlier this week, I proposed a Twitter-specific event on this here blog section, and the TA Twitterazzi responded with overwhelming positivity. Now we have a public event specifically for those who can’t break away from their laptops or mobile devices for more than five minutes. This will be interesting.

    Personally, I’m excited for it. I went to Tuesday’s Open Cup match with the intent of meeting some Tweeters I follow. Thanks to a nasty combination of long commute, rushed dinner, one beer (followed by a lack of many beers at Merlo Field), and an unbelievable amount of rain, my enthusiasm to meet fellow Tweeters was diminished pretty quickly. If the Timbers didn’t win the match, my mood woulda been more foul than the weather.

    As a result of that disappointment, I figured I’d throw this concept out there to the masses and see what people thought about it. About 24 hours later, we had an official Meet-N-Tweet event on the calendar, one that I have zero expectations for. It could be a success. It could be a bust. What I hope it becomes is a memorable night where we take social media into new territory…a territory where people are actually talking to each other via their mouths and hand signals. It’s an old-school concept, but one that may lead to solidified friendships and conserved cell phone battery life.

    This event is open to almost everyone (sorry under-21’ers). Fans. Media. Critics. O-Live commenters. Even our favorite balding journo, who I’ll buy a drink for if he actually shows up (he won’t). Anyone who cares to meet their allies in pushing the boys in green into the limelight. Even if you don’t use Twitter, come on out and teach us what it’s like to live such a primitive lifestyle.



    Tweeters, go outside and play

  • 03/31/2011 5:54 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    What was once a daydream became a goal. Fifteen months later, the goal became a reality.

    This week, the 107ist welcomed its 1,000th member – Grant Engler. To commemorate his spot in Timbers history, we took a moment to download Grant’s thoughts on the amazing community that is Timberana.

    Q. How long have you been following the Timbers?

    A. I'm a relatively new Timbers fan because I haven't lived here very long. I've been a fan since I've been here though, about four years.

    Q. Where in the stadium do you watch the game?

    A. The North End, of course.

    Q. When the Timbers are on the road, where do you watch the matches?

    A. My fiancée and I are in the process of moving to a different part of town so I need to find a place nearby. The 4-4-2 perhaps…

    Q. Why did you join the 107ist?

    A. I joined because I am insanely excited for this season, and I want to do all I can to support the Timbers and the TA. Drink discounts around town are nice, too.

    Q. What does it feel like to be the 1,000th member of the 107ist?

    A. It’s great. Let’s go for 2,000 this season!

    Q. Who is your favorite Timbers player?

    A. Ryan Pore. Eric Brunner is a close second; he's been very impressive so far.

    Q. What is your favorite Timbers chant/song?

    A. “Timbers Wonderland”

    Q. Did you grow up in Oregon? If not, what brought you here?

    A. I grew up in Wisconsin. We moved out here for a number of reasons; jobs and better weather mostly.

    Q. What is your favorite aspect of the 107ist?

    A. I love the organization and support that the 107ist provides to make the Timbers Army the best fan base in the country.

  • 03/30/2011 10:38 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    —by Chris Rifer

    The Timbers on Tuesday night knocked off Chivas USA 2-0 in US Open Cup qualifying behind late goals from Jack Jewsbury and Eric Brunner. Jewsbury, the usual wearer of the armband, came on in the 71st minute and didn’t waste much time breaking through, scoring on a strike from 30 yards out in the 84th to put Portland up 1-0. Two minutes later, game captain Brunner knocked in a rebound off of his own errant header to seal the 2-nil victory and assure the Timbers of at least another game in Open Cup qualifying.

    The match started off with some of the best Timbers play of the young season. In the first 20 minutes of the match, the Timbers strikeforce and attacking midfield had their way with the Goats’ backline, bullying their way to a series of long balls and crosses that created several early chances. Portland failed to capitalize on any of those early chances, and when Chivas righted the ship on their backline, every Timbers fan had a flashback to the litany of chances with no result in Toronto.

    In spite of the long ball success largely drying up, Kenny Cooper continued to be a nuisance to Chivas’ defense, forcing Andrew Boyens into two first-half yellow cards, leaving the Goats a man down for the rest of the match.

    The shorthanded Goats, however, refused to go away quietly, controlling much of the play through the start of the second half. In spite of the disadvantage, Chivas wasn’t satisfied to sit back and pack the box hoping to weather the storm. Instead, the Goats pinned the Timbers in their own end for long stretches and on a few occasions created quality chances that were only snuffed out by last ditch defense and a relatively heroic effort in goal by young Jake Gleeson.

    Portland reasserted itself as the half went on aided by the insertion of fresh legs into the midfield, bringing on Jewsbury and Jeremy Hall in place of Peter Lowry and Ryan Pore. Both players’ increased activity in the midfield unsettled the all-too-comfortable Chivas midfield, opened the game back up, and helped the Timbers take their first slices off the victory log as an MLS club.

    The win gives Portland a shot of much-needed confidence, and advances the Timbers in U.S. Open Cup qualifying, setting up an April match with the San Jose Earthquakes.

    Match Observations

    • The first twenty minutes of the match provided the best Timbers soccer of the season. Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza, and Kalif Alhassan were all particularly active in the opening stages as the Goats’ defense and midfield struggled to control Portland’s pace. The offense still relied heavily on the long ball, certainly to the dismay of many in the Army, but the strategy created early chances virtually at will.
    • The Timbers are still struggling with lacking a little bit of quality on some crosses and finishes. Quality finishes could have easily cut a slice or two off the log in the early going. As the match progressed and the game turned to the midfield a bit more, too many Timbers possessions were ended by a poor cross into the box or a needless giveaway by a careless pass.
    • The defense didn’t look quite as organized in some situations as it has in the previous two games. Against Toronto, the Timbers defense was vulnerable against the counterattack, but looked to have pretty good shape and organization in the normal run of play. Tuesday, I thought that shape and organization just wasn’t quite there. It wasn’t awful—they kept a clean sheet after all—but I felt that it had been better.
    • It is clear that Jorge Perlaza and Kalif Alhassan both like to have a nice open flow of play. When the play was open both were effective, with Alhassan looking like the best player on the pitch in the first 20 minutes. When the game tightens up, however, it seems they do as well and have a tendency to disappear for stretches.
    • The boys could use a little bit of work on their goal celebrations.

    Timbers Grades

    Rodney Wallace, 5 Rod’s best performance of the season so far, but was a bit Jekyll & Hyde. Had some brilliant moments, making some great long runs up the left side and one beautiful crack on goal from distance in the first half, but also had some brutal moments with poor crosses and needless giveaways. Looked better in defense, although that’s not a terribly high standard.

    David Horst, 5 A couple nerve-wracking moments, but on the whole fared fairly well. Nothing to write home to Pine Grove about, but that’s music to a central defender’s ears.

    Eric Brunner, 5.5 Would have fared better here because of the goal, but because he was charged with leading the defense gets docked just a touch because of the little bit of disorganization in back. Overall another very solid outing in a good start to the 2011 campaign.

    Steve Purdy, 6 Maybe I just love this guy, but I think he’s been the Timbers’ best player thus far. How many crucial, perfectly-timed tackles did he have Tuesday? Add to that the fact that he may be the Timbers’ best server in the run of play right now and I think you have your Timbers MVP to date.

    Kalif Alhassan, 5.5 Looked to be the best man on the pitch in the early going, having tremendous success in feeding the strikers and wreaking havoc in a scared-looking Goats midfield. Folks, he was born in 1990. Tremendous upside potential.

    Peter Lowry, 5.5 Had perhaps his best outing of the young campaign as well. Strung together a few nice passes in the midfield and defensively was pretty reliable before coming off in the 71st. Would like to see him look up at goal a bit more and direct the attack, but I’m just not sure we’re going to get that from him.

    James Marcelin, 5 Typical James Marcelin. Reliable defensively. Mixed bag in the attack. At times looked brilliant and at times looked maddening. That said, he’s a nice guy to have to bring on in the midfield when the Timbers have a lead to protect and need a bit more defense.

    Ryan Pore, 4 Positionally didn’t look like a fish out of water on the right side, but struggled mightily with his touch. Just looks like he’s lacking a little bit of confidence right now, as the usual Ryan Pore quality just doesn’t seem like it’s there. It may take him getting a goal to rediscover it.

    Kenny Cooper, 6 This might be a bit generous considering he had a couple chances that he should have made better of, but the guy just wreaks havoc in back. That’s valuable. He’s the guy that makes defenders spout obscenities. Isn’t that right, Andrew Boyens?

    Jorge Perlaza, 4.5 Clearly hasn’t put it all together yet, but we shouldn’t expect him to at this point. Had some nice runs, especially in the early going, but has a knack right now to disappear for extended periods. Also had some moments of comically poor quality, but the feeling here is that will improve as he gets more comfortable. Some decent service never killed anybody either.

    Jake Gleeson, 6.5 I agree with Ross Smith, he was man of the match. Unbelievable tools as a young keeper. So good, in fact, that you have to be a little concerned about who is watching our games. Still shows signs of being a young keeper from time to time, but on the whole Timbers fans couldn’t be happier with his play over the last 135 minutes.

    Jeremy Hall, 5.5 Loved how active he was off the bench, as he stirred things up in a Chivas midfield that was way too comfortable for being a man down. Had a couple head scratching fouls, but more than made up for them.

    Jack Jewsbury, 6.5 Was also disruptive in the Chivas midfield, applying a little bit of high pressure. Showed his two primary offensive tools; taking cracks at goal from distance and providing quality service from set pieces. Both produced goals.

  • 03/30/2011 5:57 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Pardon me while I nerd out here. Is anyone interested in having a Twitter-specific TA event? Something where the TA Twitter fiends can actually meet in one place (one that actually exists in reality, not the Internet), match the faces to the names over some pints? Perhaps, with civility, settle some differences in person? And then tweet all about it!

    Of would you rather continue to tweet anonymously?

    Reply with your comments to this post and let me know. I have plenty of Twitter followers and followees I'd like to finally meet in person. Match days are not the best opportunity, as much as we'd like that to be. If the replies can justify (that rhymes), I'll get the wheels turning and put something together.

    If we do this, wearing nametags with your Twitter handle will be a requirement. Otherwise, what's the point, right?




  • 03/28/2011 7:53 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    —by Bradley Stonecypher

    First, I would like to apologize for the lengthy delay between posts. I was in Shanghai, China for a week, had 5 days at home and then my son was born 4 weeks early on March 20, 2011. Whew! I am looking forward to our home opener where I can get some peace and quiet at good old PGE errr Jeld Wen Field. Right . . . I am a few sections over from the North End which I truly expect to be raucous, rambunctious, reverberating and L-O-U-D and I shall join in from the club. Just look for the big fella' in C5 second row from the top all the way on the end and they have better built that new grandstand sturdy for when I get my 340lbs a grooving and a shaking, things around me start swaying.

    As I said earlier, I was in Shanghai on business when I was offered $100.00usd for my old school Timbers warm up jacket which I purchased about a year and a half ago at the winter sale at the souvenir stand. And it was probably the only article of clothing NOT on sale - LOL

    I thought for a moment and shook my head. He then upped the offer to $200.00usd - I was quite stunned and honored. I asked him why he would pay that much for my "slightly" used warm up jacket. He replied, "I had such good memories of going to games as a child back in the 70s, it just reminded me of those fun times."

    I nodded in agreement. I remember going to those games with my dad who is no longer here on earth and just having a good time. I hesitated a moment and looked down at the crest. The old school axe just kind of spoke to me. He must have noticed my pause, because he upped it to $300.00.

    Now this is not the first time I have been offered money for my warm up. A guy at the Encore Club here in Portland offered me $100.00 for it earlier this year. I said, no way. He completely understood and even told me that there was no way he would sell it if it was his.

    It is not that I don't like the new logo, in fact I do. It is just a reminder to me about the past, even going back to the late 70s, attending games with my dad. I don't want to forget how it all began. I want to honor the men that played and the man that had a hand in the craziness - Timber Jim.

    $300.00 - wow - I looked at him for a while and slowly shook my head. I said, "Sentimentally, it means more then money." I am sure there is a price that would eventually outweigh the sentimental value, but at this moment in my life, I am not sure what it is. Definitely, more then $300.00 though.

    We saw a nurse today about my son who is struggling with some jaundice issues. She looked at my warm up and said, "Do you have season tickets?" At first, I was in such a fog, I wasn't sure what she was talking about. She pointed to my warmup. I smiled proudly, "Yes, I do." She went on to say that through her son's select soccer team they were able to get opening game tickets. She was very proud of the fact that they had managed that as his birthday was close to April 14. We both went on to agree that it would be a great time for him and that he would probably be a Timber for life. What really hit home to me is her comment about how affordable it was for her family to attend games. I told her to contact the front office about putting a birthday wish on the board for him. I don't know if the Timbers will still do it, but I said it was worth a shot.

    I did say no to $300.00 and he was a bit disappointed, but he understood. I was glad the wife was not with me that day or I would probably still be bruised from the smack she would give me for turning it down. So on April 14, look me up. I will be the big guy, shaking my stuff, chanting way with my army in the old school Timber's warmup.

    Maximus was born on 3/20/2011 - 4 weeks premature - he weighed 8lbs 14oz and was 20.5 inches long. Baby and mother are doing great

    Thanks for reading!

  • 03/28/2011 7:51 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    —by Chris Rifer

    For the second week in a row the Timbers dropped a disappointing loss on the road, this time to the preseason consensus worst team in MLS, Toronto FC. For substantial portions, Portland dominated the run of play, but Toronto’s counterattack proved fatal to the Timbers’ hopes on a frigid afternoon in Toronto.

    Like last week, the Timbers conceded an early goal on the left side of their defense, as Javier Martina slotted in a counterattack goal in the 14th minute. Martina trailed the breakaway, but after Steve Purdy snuffed the initial threat from Dwayne De Rosario and Kevin Goldthwaite joined to add ball pressure, De Rosario dropped to Martina in the spot vacated by Goldthwaite to leave keeper Adin Brown helpless.

    From there, the Timbers dominated possession for the remainder of the first half and into the second half. Although the game settled firmly into Portland’s attacking half, the Timbers weren’t able to muster a critical mass of quality chances on goal. Despite 16 shots and 9 corner kicks, Toronto keeper Stefan Frei was rarely seriously challenged, as Portland’s efforts were largely hopeful.

    The beginning of the second half saw the game open up even further, as substitute goalkeeper Jake Gleeson parried Maicon Santos’ counterattack effort in the 48th minute. Three minutes later, Portland had perhaps its best chance of the game, as Jeremy Hall’s shot from the right side was knocked away by Frei.

    The Timbers continued to apply pressure into the 69th minute when Rodney Wallace’s effort off of a nice overlapping run was deflected just wide into the side netting. Frei controlled the ensuing Timbers corner and unleashed a brilliant boot downfield to Martina in stride for the strike just inside the far post.

    During the few instances that Toronto created offense from the midfield, Portland’s defense looked substantially more organized than last week in Denver. The right side of the Timbers’ defense looks settled, as Eric Brunner and Steve Purdy again combined to keep all quiet on that front. The left side also looked more composed, as Goldthwaite and Wallace appeared to be communicating much better when they had the opportunity to set up their line.

    The damage was done on the counterattack, however. All of Toronto’s four quality chances came on the counter with two producing tallies. The Reds appeared to be content to allow Portland to apply some pressure, and then take advantage of the Timbers’ fullbacks’ aggressiveness in pushing forward. Toronto’s success on the counterattack, not the Timbers’ quantity of possession, was the difference in the game and ultimately the story of the match.

    Match Observations

    • My initial response to the game was that this was a manifestly unjust result. After some reflection, however, I think the Timbers’ advantage in possession was largely a result of Toronto’s tactics. It was clear that Toronto was fairly content to sit back, absorb any organized offense that Portland offered, and then punch back hard down the Timbers’ left side. This plan is one that the Timbers are going to be vulnerable to until Portland fills a couple holes. The Timbers’ lack of playmaking dynamism, especially in the middle of the field, makes them less than fearsome against an organized defense and Portland’s much-discussed struggles on the left side of the defense creates a vulnerability to counter.
    • The Timbers’ offense opened up dramatically after John Spencer flipped Jeremy Hall and Ryan Pore in the midfield. In the very early going Pore again looked 6th-grade-health-class uncomfortable on the right side of the midfield while the Jeremy Wallace combination failed to get much going on the left. When they were flipped, I thought both Hall and Pore looked much more dynamic.
    • The Jeremy Wallace story is one that should be watched over the course of the next couple weeks. Presumably, Sal Zizzo will replace Pore in the starting XI sometime before the home opener. When Darlington Nagbe returns from hernia surgery he will likely replace Jeremy Hall on the left side of the midfield. The question then becomes, does Hall shift to left back and replace Rod Wallace? Wallace’s job is probably safe by necessity until then, but barring substantial improvement from him over the next couple weeks, Spenny may decide to look to Wallace’s fellow Terrapin to take over those duties.

    Timbers Grades

    Adin Brown: 5.5 – Solid outing in goal through the first half. Not much he could have done to stop the goal and made a couple nice plays to stop the intermittent Toronto attacks.

    Steve Purdy: 6.5 – Kerrea who? Looked reliable in defense and produced some good chances with runs into the Timbers’ attacking third. Any questions about whether he is an MLS-quality right back have been soundly answered.

    Eric Brunner: 6 – Again, can’t really complain about the right side of the defense.

    Kevin Goldthwaite: 4.5 – So it was better than Colorado. Still, the help on the ball that led to the first goal was probably gratuitous as Purdy looked to have De Rosario pretty well bottled up.

    Rodney Wallace: 4 – For a defender known for his athleticism, Rod straight up got beat to the ball by Martina in the 70th minute and was conspicuously absent from defense leading to the first goal. Still, he made a couple nice runs into the attacking third, although sometimes lacked a little bit of quality on the cross.

    Ryan Pore: 5 – Started off looking out of sorts on the right, although did make an interior run to create one opportunity. Looked a bit better on the left, but still wasn’t the dynamic player Timbers fans have seen in the past.

    Jack Jewsbury: 5.5 – Had a few nice set pieces and was fairly active around the ball in the midfield. Solid, but somewhat nondescript. I should probably control-C this grade to save time in the future.

    Peter Lowry: 4 – Did he even play? Seemed to be completely MIA from the attack, and when he was around the ball he seemed a step late.

    Jeremy Hall: 6 – Perhaps the best of the Timbers midfielders today. Was disruptive to the Reds’ defense when he had the opportunity to move down the right side. Had pretty good touch on the ball throughout and seemed to constantly be involved in the attack.

    Jorge Perlaza: 4 – Looked out of sorts. His touch wasn’t what it has been in the past, and instead of looking to go at goal he seemed to be releasing to the midfield a lot.

    Kenny Cooper: 6 – Didn’t breakthrough, although he did have a couple decent cracks at goal. Was very active up front, giving Toronto’s backline fits most of the day.

    Jake Gleeson: 6 – Can’t blame him for an all-around classy 70th minute Reds goal. Made one beautiful save in a 1 v 1 situation with Santos, and had another nice punch out on a corner. The 20-year old looked every bit of an MLS-quality keeper.

    Sal Zizzo: 5 – Had a couple nice touches out on the right wing, but didn’t make much of a difference.

    Brian Umony: INC – Pretty nondescript duty in place of Perlaza in the final 15 minutes or so.

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