Mama told me there would be games like this.
After two lackluster losses against the likes of Chivas USA and D.C. United, the Portland Timbers returned home on Saturday night to host the Colorado Rapids. Their form in recent games has been lackluster, to say the least. They have seemed resolved to play the long ball and completely ignored any kind of midfield play.
On Saturday, they put in their best showing of the season.
All night they worked the way around the midfield, finally allowing Diego Chara to make some plays and allowing Kalif Alhassan to finally make some of those breathtaking runs he displayed early in the season. The defense, midfield and forwards all worked together to put together numerous passes and opportunities.
Man, oh man, did they have opportunities to score.
Jorge Perlaza had two breakaways against the Colorado keeper and failed to find the mark both times. Kenny Cooper had a beautiful turn and strike in the box that was head for goal and somehow Matt Pickens, the Colorado keeper, managed to get a glove on it. It was a world-class save that should have gone in for a goal.
Ryan Pore, last year's MVP of the UCL, came into the game in the 72nd minute and had two wonderful opportunities as well. The first was an open header in front of the goal that he cleared way wide, and the second was a wide open net that he shanked upwards.
In spite of those two miscues, it was far and away Pore's best showing of the season. He continually found space and made nice runs behind the defense.
Colorado was at their most dangerous on set pieces and had some nice opportunities on corners throughout the night. But, let's face it, the Timbers dominated this match and should have come away with three points. They played their hearts out. The fact is that soccer, like life, is unfair.
The Timbers now face a very tough New York Red Bulls team on Sunday at home. it will be up to coach John Spencer to keep their spirits high.