Major League Soccer - Providence Park
9/20/2015 2:00pm: Partly Cloudy, 26C/79F
Pre-game records: Portland Timbers (W11-D8-L9-41pts) vs. New York Red Bulls (W13-D6-L8-45pts)
Portland Timbers – GLK Adam Larsen Kwarasey, DEF Alves Powell, DEF Liam Ridgewell, DEF Nat Borchers, DEF Jorge Villafana, MID Diego Chara, MID Will Johnson, MID Diego Valeri, MID Darlington Nagbe, MID Lucas Melano, FWD Maximilliano Urruti. Formation: 4-2-3-1.
New York Red Bulls: GLK, Luis Robles, DEF Kemar Lawrence, DEF Damien Perrinelle, DEF Matt Miazga, DEF Sal Zizzo, MID Sean Davis, MID Felipe, MID Gonzalo Veron, MID Sacha Kljestan, MID Shaun Wright-Phillips, FWD Bradley Wright-Phillips. Formation: 4-2-3-1.
Coming into the final stretch of the season, this was to be a very important clash between the Portland Timbers and New York Red Bulls. Portland had only 6 games left to solidify a play-off spot in the Western Conference and the new that San Jose had drawn and lost this week gave the team good news ahead of the fixture and a chance to pull away from them in 7th place. Caleb Porter had a full roster to pick from and welcomed back Diego Chara and Liam Ridgewell from suspension as well as Alves Powell and Will Johnson from international duty last time out at home. Coach Porter went with Urruti as the lone striker for the first time in a while with Fanendo Adi on the bench.
New York were in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference and were in good for coming into this game winning 4 of their last 6 games with Bradley Wright-Phillips shining once again with 6 goals in his last 7 games. He was joined today by his sibling Shaun Wright-Phillips in a strong lineup that included former Timber Sal Zizzo and Sasha Kljestan. A win today would have put Jesse Marsch’ team top of the table with still games in hand on Columbus Crew and New England Revolution. A gorgeous day with light winds and temperatures into the mid 70s made for the perfect atmosphere on a Sunday afternoon.
7 mins: New York Red Bulls with a corner. Kljestan swung over a low cross and Sal Sizzo steered it towards goal but there were plenty of defenders in the 6 yard box to scupper the opportunity.
9 mins: 2 minutes later, after some excellent work by Powell and Nagbe, Melano slid the ball through the center and Urruti chased the ball down but he couldn’t make it in time and Robles scooped the ball up. Much better from the home side after a slow start where the Red Bulls looked the more threatening side.
17 mins: A surging run at the heart of the Portland defense by Sasha Kljestan and Diego Chara was able to prevent him a sight on goal. Kljestan knocked it back for Sean Davis to hit from 28 yards but his shot was high and wide. The attack of the away side was certainly looking the more threatening in the opening 20 minutes.
23 mins: More pressure from the New York Red Bulls and Portland were having to defend and keep their shape well and this time it was Sean Davis who found a way around Diego Chara and he tried to find the bottom corner but once again, he could not find the target. New York were looking dangerous and the home side was finding it hard to get anything going in an attacking sense.
27 mins: Another break forward from the Timbers and Lucas Melano spotted Diego Valeri making a diagonal run in from the right flank. Valeri was able to get a shot away, fired low and hard toward the near corner but Robles was able to block it with his left boot. Villafana was then cut down by Zizzo but the referee waved play on. The home side were beginning to get into the game.
32 mins: A lovely one-two between Villafana and Melano and it’s the former who crossed it in from the left, the ball was nodded out by the New York rear guard and Valeri was there and hit a sweet volley, unfortunately for the home side it hit an offside Lucas Melano who could not get out of the way. Much better from the home team.
34 mins: Valeri swung in an excellent ball from the left hand side and it fell to Nat Borchers from 8 yards out. His shot flew high over the bar. Not really known for his eye for goal with his feet it’s fair to say.
36 mins: Jorge Villafana with an awful attempted back pass deep in his own half and Gonzalo Veron found himself clean through on goal from a slight angle to the right. He decided to shoot instead of setup one of 4 team-mates in the penalty area and his shot went wide of the far post.
GOAL! 42 mins: Felipe picked up the ball just inside the Portland half and the Portland defense just dropped off and allowed him to run at them. He hit a shot from 30 yards and it looped over Kwarasey to take the lead. Poor defending from the Timbers there. Felipe went over to the Timbers Army for a celebration that was rather lacking in class. Portland Timbers 0-1 New York Red Bulls.
GOAL! 45 mins: It’s another goal for the away side as the Portland defense crumbles once again. This time it’s Damien Perrinelle who heads ball home seconds after New York have an attempt cleared off the line. Portland will be very disappointed with their defending in the last 5 minutes of that half. All to do for the home side in the 2nd half. Portland Timber 0-2 New York Red Bulls.
Half Time Score: Portland Timbers 0-2 New York Red Bulls
Shots: Portland Timbers 5 (1) – 13 (3) New York Red Bulls
Possession: Portland Timbers 41%-59% New York Red Bulls
46 mins: Once again the New York Red Bulls almost score. This time from a corner that was not dealt with and both Sasha Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips had shots but thankfully Kwarasey was there for the Timbers or this would have been game over. Portland were looking rattled at this point and there was even a strange quiet around the ground which is very rare for a Portland home game.
52 mins: Much better pressure from the home side who begun to throw players forward and the ball fell to Will Johnson around 30 yards out and he settled the bell down and hit it. The ball hit the crossbar and over for a goal kick but this was much better from the Timbers. New York seemed to be happy to allow the home side to come onto them.
58 mins: Coach Porter had seen enough and brought on Fanendo Adi for Urruti. Shortly afterwards, Darlington Nagbe picked the ball up from a messy challenge involving Diego Chara and went towards goal. His shot was low and wide of the target. Portland needed something to happen and fast with only 1 third of the game left.
70 mins: The Red Bulls were enjoying the way that the game was going. Portland could not get into any rhythm and the away side were making the most of the large amount of stoppages occurring, ensuring the play was broken up as many times as possible. Coach Porter took off a ragged Will Johnson and brought on Rodney Wallace in an attempt to get a goal back and give the home fans something to cheer about.
73 mins: A chance that pretty much summed up the afternoon for Portland as Valeri swung over the corner and Adi met it from 8 yards out but it went wide of the upright. That was a heck of a chance and he knew it as he held his head in his hands.
80 mins: One final throw of the dice for Caleb Porter as he brought on Dairon Asprilla for a tiring Alves Powell. Portland went to 3 at the back. New York were quite happy to allow Portland possession of the ball and still broke dangerously with an excellent chance falling to substitute Mike Grella and Kwarasey made an excellent save low to his left. Hopes were fading of a comeback for the home side.
83 mins: Diego Valeri swung over another corner and this time it was Fanendo Adi who met it with his head downwards but the New York Red Bulls rear guard were able to clear it off the line with a fine save from Robles. Less than a minute later Valeri went down in the penalty area and asked for a penalty, the referee turned down his request.
87 mins: The ball just would not go in for the Timbers as this time Nat Borchers scrambles for the ball and gets to it from a yard out after a save from Robles but the keeper was able to block the shot and the ball spun wide of the post. It was all Portland at this stage but New York had done enough and were happy to allow the home side the ball.
Full Time Score: Portland Timbers 0-2 New York Red Bulls
Shots: Portland Timbers 17 (4)–20 (6) New York Red Bulls
Possession: Portland Timbers 47% – 53% New York Red Bulls
MOTM: Sasha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls)
A disappointing afternoon in the Rose City for the Portland Timbers as their hopes of making moves in the play-off positions are beginning to fade a little. 6th place at the moment in the Western Conference but they are hitting a poor run of form at the wrong time. 5 games left which include a trip to the LA Galaxy, and Columbus Crew plus tough games against Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake. Lots of endeavor but a lack of cutting edge in the final third. New York deserved their victory and often looked dangerous. New York clinched their spot in the play offs with this victory and will be up there along with the LA Galaxy as favorites for the title. For Caleb Porters men, this was not a great performance, especially in the first half and he will be looking for much more from his team in the final games of the regular season