I'm going to have a heart attack watching the Timbers.
For the second time in two weeks, they played their best soccer of the season—only to lose their composure in stoppage time.
Last week it was a heart-wrenching loss to Colorado on the last play in injury time. This time it was a handball in their box by Rodney Wallace that led to a PK for the New York Red Bulls, and a tie.
The fact is that the Timbers outplayed what many consider to be the best team in the MLS.
In the first half they went down 0-1 in the 4th minute. Thierry Henry worked with Dwayne De Rosario on a 1-2-3 that ended with Austin De Luz putting it in the net.
Although down, the Timbers kept their composure and displayed something they'd been lacking all season - patience. They worked the ball in the backfield and waited for openings and lines to show up in the mid-field and forward runs. They didn't have a great look at goal in the first half, but they dominated possession and showed poise.
In the second half, they flat-out exploded.
In the 47th minute, Jack Jewsbury nailed a line drive into goal to tie it a 1-1. Only two minutes later, Jewsbury put in a perfect set piece cross to Eric Brunner, who headed it to Kevin Goldwaithe for an easy goal.
Timbers up 2-1. It only got better from there.
The Timbers continued to put massive amounts of pressure on the Red Bulls. At one point Henry could be seen screaming at his team to remain poised. The Timbers had numerous set piece chances, as well as a couple of break aways.
In the 58th minute, ex-Timber Stephen Keel put in an own goal on a break away by Jorge Perlazza, and Portland went up 3-1.
It looked to be over until none other than Thierry Henry took matters into his own hands. Just minutes later he blasted a left foot shot passed Troy Perkins.
Timbers were up 3-2 and could have put the game away when the Red Bulls keeper, Greg Sutton, took down Perlazza on yet another Timber's breakaway.
It was up to Captain Jack Jewsbury to ice the game with a PK.
And he missed.
That act gave New York their needed second wind. They put pressure on in the closing minutes, but looked sure to lose the game...until the inexplicable happened.
In the final ten seconds, Kevin Goldwaithe went from hero to goat when he completely mishandled a deep ball from New York.
Rather than merely kick it into the stands, which would have run out the clock and given Portland the win, he flubbed it and gave it to a New York player, who kicked it to absolutely nobody in the box. The ball was going into purgatory when, inexplicably, Rodney Wallace stuck out his hand to stop it.
Rightfully, a penalty kick was called, and De Rosario calmly kicked it in the back of the net for the tie.
Lost in all the action was Henry getting sent off with a red card for fighting—with just two minutes left in the game. Still not sure it was deserved, as I didn't see anything.
What can I say?
The Timber's played outstanding and wonderful ball. They completely outplayed New York and deserved three points, just as they deserved three points against Colorado last week.
What's going on with this team? Why do they completely lose composure and focus in stoppage time?
For the second time in a week, I left the stadium with a lump in my stomach. Exhausted. Drained. Wondering what it will take for this team to get on-track.
Undoubtedly they missed Futty Danso in the central defense. That was the main thing I noticed—the defense looked massively unorganized at all times.
Sure, detractors will point out that New York was missing five players for the Gold Cup. I don't care. They still had De Rosario and Henry, and that should be enough.
It will be interesting to see how Portland comes back from this game. They were oh so close to beating arguably the best team in MLS. They haven't had a win in 4 games and they desperately need to get back on track.
It was refreshing to see Perlazza make some breathtaking runs. Now if he could just score on a break away.
Kenny Cooper continues to find the back of the net, although after he's been whistled for off-sides. Seriously, he's had three goals nullified in the last three games due to offsides.
Alhassan looked much, much more dangerous in mid-field.
It's the mid-point in the season. If the Timbers continue to play like this, undoubtedly they'll break through and start to win some games.
Fun stuff to watch, just wish we could have come away with a win rather than a tie.
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