In between the chants of the Timbers Army, the crowd reaction at Jeld-Wen Field went something like this: a collective and audible breath in, then a sigh filled with unimaginable disappointment. That happened every one of the 22 times
the Timbers missed a shot Wednesday night against the New England Revolution.
No matter how many times the announced sellout crowd of 20,674 sighed, the Timbers were unable to put the ball in the back of the net.
And while Portland was dominant, the Timbers had to settle for a 0-0 MLS draw.
There was not much more that Portland could have done other than score a goal. The Timbers controlled .674 percent of the possession and put nine shots on frame compared to New Englands four shots.
It simply was not enough.
Its not what we wanted, Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. We had enough chances to score the goal to win. In the end, you have to credit their goalkeeper. He made some good saves. We also werent as sharp as we couldve been in and around the final third.
The silver lining for Portland is that with the draw the Timbers (3-1-6, 14 points) extended their unbeaten streak to seven matches.
Were not satisfied with a point, Porter said, but its also not the end of the world.
Also, the Timbers received a stellar performance from goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who made four saves.
Ricketts gave the credit to the entire defensive unit.
We had to be good with our position, and we put out fires early, Ricketts said.
The Timbers came out blasting on offense. Portland attacked the New England goal full force throughout the first half. The Timbers strung together numerous clever combinations that put shooters in optimum positions to score. Portland got off 12 shots in the half, four by striker Darlington Nagbe.
Nagbe watched shots be saved in the 12th and 15th minute, sent a shot over the
crossbar in the 30th minute and had a shot defended in the 43rd minute. He also watched his shot saved in the 88th minute.
I had our best chances, and I didnt put them away, Nagbe said. It was just unlucky.
New England, picking and choosing its moments for counter-attacks, put up seven shots in the first half, including two on frame.
In the 44th minute, the Timbers got a call in their favor that turned out to be disastrous for them. After a throw-in, Diego Valeri had the ball on the right side, just outside the 18-yard box. Valeri turned and passed the ball to Diego Chara before being knocked to the ground by Revolution defender Darrius Barnes.
When he got the ball, Chara faked Kansas City goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, forcing him to leave his feet. Chara then passed the ball to Ryan Johnson, who tapped the ball into the open goal.
Suddenly, though, there was a shocked cry of outrage from the Timbers Army. Evidently, the play had been whistled dead when Barnes fouled Valeri and the goal did not stand.
Johnson refused a request to be interviewed after the match.
In the 53rd minute, Johnson narrowly missed scoring again. He got a pass in the air from midfielder Rodney Wallace, seven yards from goal. Johnson did not let the ball touch the ground. As soon as the ball reached him, he sent a left-footed rocket at the goal. The ball went directly to Shuttleworth, though, and the Revolution had thwarted the Timbers again.
In the 56th minute, Portland received a blow on an absurd play that could have costly ramifications on the club for the rest of the season. Defender Mikael Silvestre had the ball in the Timbers defensive third of the pitch. Silvestre was alone, five yards clear of any Revolution player. The 35-year-old former French national team player evidently decided to show off his skills on the ball to the crowd. Silvestre bounced the ball high up into the air, let it come down and then tried a bicycle kick. As he sent the ball down
the pitch, though, Silvestre twisted his leg beneath him and crumpled to the ground. He had to be removed from the pitch on a stretcher.
I dont know the situation yet with Mikael, Porter said. Well evaluate that.
The Timbers will play again Wednesday, when they face FC Dallas on the road.
Portland will then host Chivas USA the following Sunday.
Porter said that the disappointment of walking away from Thursdays match with only a point could help his club in those matches.
In some ways, this was maybe a good thing, he said. We left with a bitter taste, and that will make sure were hungry, and you need to be hungry and dig deep and win games.