March 6, 2016: MLS Week 1
Timbers 2-1 Crew SC
The Timbers kicked off the season at home against the Columbus Crew in a rematch of last year’s MLS Cup final. Caleb Porter’s crew looked very sharp for the majority of the match, and while they didn’t dominate, they made enough of their many chances count.
- The Crew attempted to do their thing by controlling possession but the Timbers won the stats that matter when a team is trying to do that to you. They cleared all 32 of the Crew’s crosses, won 50 out of the 83 duels, and despite not having even 40% of possesssion managed 20 shots (1 more than Columbus) and had twice as many shots on target (8 compared to 4). They countered well down the wings and frequently fed Asprilla the ball who frequently took naps but he made it count when he needed to.
- Kei Kamara’s hair was on another level tonight. The look, which can only be described as “The first two seasons of Lost,” easily earned Kamara #HairOfTheMatch honors. This guy continues to impress me on and off the pitch.
- The Timbers got on the board halfway through the first half when a Valeri free kick from about 20 yards out on the left was whipped in and the screen from the rushing Timbers allowed the ball to sneak past the goalie. Great ball by Valeri.
you can barely see it but it’s there. The first two seasons of Lost
- Asprilla blew a huge opportunity right before half. Should have absolutely scored at the far post or even just by putting it low in the near corner but instead shot it directly into the goalies palms for a fairly easy save.
- Nagbe had a big chance when he was put through by Valeri into the box and absolutely ripped a right footed shot straight at the Crew keeper, Clark. It sailed right past Clark and banged off of the crossbar. So close but a great run by Nagbe.
- Higuain scored a beauty to level it. He received a short cross in the box a little bit behind him, it popped up and he biked it in like his life depended on it right in Borchers face. How did he get that past the beard?
- Adi pushed the timbers up a goal in the 79th minute after Asprilla’s blasted shot/cross came across the net from the left which Clark popped up into the air behind him. Adi, who was streaking in from the middle, made absolutely sure that it was buried in the back of the net.
- Higuain had another stunner that just barely missed equalizing the score din the 84th minute. After a Columbus cross was cleared Higuain ripped a volley from about 25 yards out. The forceful shot beat Kwarasey and clamored off of the inside of the left post.
- I’m pretty sure that Asprilla has a rare condition in which he falls asleep as soon as he touches the ball. He literally came to a complete stop at one point in the box, just standing there, before blasting a shot directly into the defender. He also got knocked over at the very end, and it seemed like the Crew defender tried to give him a nibble.
- Taking a look at Asprilla’s stat map from tonight (Opta for MLS), you can see he really wasn’t that effective with the ball, but probably all will be forgotten because of the win. He only completed 21 of 32 passes (66%) compared to the game average of 81%. He also only had one “key pass” which is basically a pass which sparks an opportunistic movement for your team.
- Melano on the right had the ball a lot less but in the final third he was more efficient. He had 3 key passes, and Melano’s 1 shot on goal (of 1 shot) was much more efficient than the 2 shots on goal Asprilla had (of 6 shots). Melano isn’t the guy you want distributing and controlling the midfield, but I think more opportunities to make runs down the right or into the middle are probably warranted. Valeri and Chara might want to look down the right a bit more.
- Adi quietly (not quietly) picked up 7 fouls tonight. That’s 5 more than the next highest player on either team. What is he doing, he’s a striker! Only one of those 7 fouls was in the box and the rest were all in midfield. I like that he’s getting back to help, it makes sense considering they were giving up possession to Crew, but he might be a bit lucky not to have been carded earlier in the match (he was booked in the 87′).
- Finlay was rendered almost totally ineffective by Jermaine Taylor. Finlay only got 4 crosses off and all 4 were cleared.
In the end, the rematch scoreline mirrored the Cup final and the Timbers Army sleeps well tonight. Valeri earns HotFooty Man of the Match honors.
Is it just me or is this log not thick enough? I’m pretty sure Timber Joey is still sawing from Adi’s goal. Love it, nonetheless