Portland Timbers 3-3 New York Red Bulls: Notes From Cascadia
Now I haven’t checked my Soccer Gods Handbook yet but I do believe there is a provision in there that states that the home team is not allowed to concede a goal in stoppage time, on Father’s Day, when I’m at the game. Right? For the second straight week that’s what happened at JELD-WEN field in Portland as the Timbers again didn’t capitalize on their chances and ended up denying themselves some extra points in the standings.
Things started poorly in the first half with Portland conceding a goal in the 5th minute. While Portland controlled most of the possession, they did nothing with it, instead looking a little slow in their play and a bit lifeless for the entire half. The Red Bulls were satisfied with just laying back and picking their spots and the first half ended one-nil to New York with neither side getting any real chances.
But oh boy, what a second half. Suspended Timbers coach John Spencer must have motivated (screamed at) his team via satellite during the break because the Timbers came out aggressive and started taking their game to New York. The payoff was immediate as Jack Jewsbury (clearly the team’s MVP at this point) blasted a shot from outside the 18 to level the score. A minute later saw reserve center back Kevin Goldthwaite use a heel flick off a volley to give Portland the lead. The play did not slow down with both sides throughout the 2nd half. Nineteen minutes later an own goal off a cross from Forward Jorge Perlaza put Portland ahead 3-1 and things were looking good in the Rose City. But it’s the lack of consistency, especially in the back line, that we have seen plague this team all season that lead to the following events. Thierry Henry caught Portland napping and scored in the 73’. Jewsbury failed to convert on a penalty kick minutes later that would have put the game away and a turnover along with a hand ball in the box with seconds left in stoppage time, left the raucous Timbers crowd stunned as the game ends in a 3-3 draw after De Rosario converted a penalty kick as the game ended.
The plusses in this game were that the Timbers did come back and score three goals against one of the better defensive teams in the league and they also ended their three game losing streak (I’m really trying to be positive here, people). It was an incredible atmosphere and an exciting game to watch. After the game, Thierry Henry was asked about the Timbers crowd. Here’s what he said:
“I’ve played in a lot of stadiums before. It was a great atmosphere playing at Barcelona, playing at Arsenal, playing some big games in the World Cup, but I have to say the fans [here] are amazing. Credit to them, they are amazing – they didn’t stop singing, they were there an hour before the game outside singing. Wow. Amazing.”
Now if only the Timbers can put together a complete performances to match their fans energy at some point, we may actually be on to something great.