Not a whole lot of people wanted to go outside on Thursday, and who could blame them—that was one hell of a storm. But the Portland Timbers had a game to play, and though many had to brave the elements to get to the game, the game itself was only sprinkled with steady rain.
The Montreal "Impact" had not lost in three games coming into Thursday's match, after a slow start to the season (perhaps a hangover from their impressive run to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals) but the Mighty Mighty Timbers were unbeaten in seven games, including an impressive win against Vancouver last weekend.
Lightning, thunder or milk tycoons could not keep the Timbers at bay, nor could they keep the Timbers Army away.
From the first minute of the game the Milk Cows clearly were after a point, doing their best to control possession and pass the 90 minutes without incident. The Timbers, when they had possession, pushed forward and created more than a handful of good breaks and chances, though only a few really great shots. The two best were Josten's opportunistic one touch volley that barely eeked over the bar after Montreal's keeper misplayed a cross, and Claesson's nearly miraculous cross-goal mouth curling shot that also bounced off the cross bar.
Marred by the wet pitch, the game was a slow affair and the Timbers back line began casting long passes forward in the air instead of working through the midfield. The statistics of this match really tell most of the story:
Shots: Portland 19, Montreal 2
Corners: Portland 9, Montreal 1
The Timbers wrestled control of the tempo and turned on the Jets when Nimo and McLaughlin came in around the 70th minute. The Timbers pressed and pressed until the levy broke in the 90th minute. A Montreal foul earned the Timbers a free kick from roughly 30 yards out, which Hayes played to the left side of the goal mouth scrum. Defender Cameron Knowles headed the ball towards the goal mouth, where Savage was unmarked. Savage buried the shot and PGE Park erupted in a manic celebration.
Montreal, defeated in their goal to play in the most boring game of footie since the Simpsons soccer riot, then let the Timbers run roughshod for the next three minutes of stoppage time. Nimo and McLaughlin both missed shots that should have been goals. Nimo gets a pass (it was a tough shot) but McLaughlin gets a spanking for missing over the crossbar on a nearly open goal. C'mon kid, you're getting paid to play now. You have to finish your chances!
Chant of the night: "Soccer city drinks Soy Milk!"
Three Timber earned team of the Week honors: Steve Cronin, Sco-t Thompson and George Josten. Josten also won Goal of the Week honors for his brilliant steal, run and finish against Vancouver, which I hope you will re-live in the clip below.
The Timbers are currently third in the USL1, and headed for the top! RCTID! Until next time, folks.