Well That Was Frustrating

It started off well. Some back-and-forth, both teams feeling each other out. It also didn’t hurt that Sebastian Blanco hit the returning Dairon Asprilla with a beautiful pass on the right side, and he slotted home a great goal just inside the far post. It was only the fourth minute, however, the rest of the half did not go that way.

Columbus was not deterred, and responded well. Just seven minutes later they struck when a set piece bounced around the box, eventually finding the back of the net from Justin Meram. But the Crew were not done.

They waited eight minutes to strike again, as a long pass drew Jake Gleeson out of the Portland net, which turned out to be a bad choice. With Gleeson in no man’s land, Ola Kamara had no problems chipping it over the lanky Kiwi. Crew up 2-1. Damnit.

All was not lost though. In stoppage time, Alvas Powell made a great cross into the box, finding Fenando Adi, who turned and struck gold with the equalizer just before the halftime whistle. This goal puts Adi in a tie with John Bain as the all-time leading scorer in club history, his fourth on the season as well.

The Timbers were inconsistent in the first half. Sometimes the defense looked in control, and impenetrable, and other times they looked like Swiss cheese. Zarek Valentin was probably the most consistent, and even he wasn’t solid the whole game. Luckily the Timbers started the second with that same momentum.

Adi wanted to move into sole position as leading scorer, but was denied with some incredible goalkeeping. Unfortunately, the Timbers would not be able to break through again in this one, and the Crew’s pressure paid off. In the 84th minute, rookie Niko Hansen scored in his MLS debut, after a long period of Columbus pressuring a disjointed Timbers defense.

That’s the way it ended, but this one was much more than a disappointing scoreline. Once again the officiating was bad. Referee Silviu Petrescu was atrocious for both teams. Calling fouls late, giving phantom Yellow Cards, and just missing blatant fouls altogether. He was at peak incompetence when he carded Diego Valeri for a good challenge on the ball.

Reckless challenge?! So sliding well before the Defender is there, spikes down, and making contact with the ball, before slightly glancing against a LATE arriving Defender is reckless now MLS? Zero excuse for that card, and very lazy officiating. However, that is not why the Timbers lost this match.

As mentioned before the Defense was disjointed, the attack, while looking solid at times (Adi had multiple opportunities in the box), was also inconsistent and seemed to luck into chances rather than create them.Β The absences of David Guzman, Darlington Nagbe, Liam Ridgewell, and Vytas Nameistoolongtoremember, were showing in this one.

Although, the team knew this long before this game. Vytas was the only one who might have been cleared to play. In all honesty, it should have been a draw, however, it’s not a brutal loss, which will derail a good start.

The Crew also played well. They appeared to have a game-plan, and stuck to it after a quick opening goal against, and a tying goal just before the first half ended. Those could have been back-breaking goals against teams with less resolve, and I don’t want to take anything away from their performance.

Maybe a more strategic substitution could have been made to prevent that third Crew goal, or maybe there was a miscommunication on the Timbers side. Who knows? The same way you can’t crown yourselves MLC Cup champs after a 3-0-0 start is the same attitude where you can’t say the season is lost after a tough loss in Week 4.

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