|Lovely vantage point before things got rolling (J.Kesgard)|
Timbers Coach Caleb Porter was pleased to have his full roster of players available with 2 exceptions, as defenders Liam Ridgewell and Vytas continue to nurse leg ailments, but Porter wasted no time in putting Guzman in his familiar defensive midfield role alongside Diego Chara. Nagbe was flanked out on the left with Diego Valeri patrolling the middle and Sebastian Blanco manning the right wing in support of forward Fanendo Adi, and this attacking foursome has been lethal to defenses during the month of March. Defensively, Porter made one change to the group that he's used for the last 2 matches as young Marco Farfan (who played so well in the Timbers road win over the Los Angeles Galaxy back on March 12) would start at left back alongside center backs Lawrence Olum and Roy Miller with Alvas Powell starting at right back. Jake Gleeson, who had some questionable decisions in the Crew match, would again make another start in goal as Porter decided to leave Jeff Attinella on the bench. One of the biggest issues in the Crew match was the lack of pace and movement, especially in the second half, so Portland would need Guzman and Nagbe to inject some energy to jumpstart the offense.
|Marco Farfan was huge for the Timbers all night. (J. Kesgard)|
|The Maestro did it again. (J. Kesgard)|
Neither side was able to create any additional chances despite 6 minutes of second half stoppage, much of it due to Smith crumpling to the turf with cramps at the 87th minute and staying down for quite a while. While New England could be happy by grabbing the point towards the end of the match despite limited chances and possession, the offense still wasn't firing on all cylinders. For the Timbers, they scrapped for an early goal to give them a lead, but their finishing kept them from adding another goal and sealing the win. Part of that was the pressure from New England, some was from Stott's influence after certain foul calls, but a big portion was the Timbers playing more passively, especially in the second half. While the team also was getting frustrated at the lack of calls on the Revolution, they failed to capitalize on various attacks due to impatience and rushed finishing in the box. Finally, Gleeson spilling a ball into traffic was bad enough to give New England a chance to draw even, but the defense didn't aid things by not clearing out threats sooner. While the Timbers got the draw to keep a point, this was an easily winnable match with some slight changes - and Portland now turns their attention to the road when they play the Philadelphia Union on April 8.