A thrilling, frustrating, promising 0-0 draw with Columbus
The Portland Timbers could feel better about having a much better performance on this evening than their last outing in Montreal, but despite many scoring chances, neither team could find the net and the match would end in the first home scoreless draw in their MLS history, in front of 20,438 at Portland’s JELD-WEN Field.
For the first eighteen minutes, the match showed signs it was going to be an open one, at least compared to the past few Timbers match, but with a lot of players in new positions, the play was chippy and hardly flowing. Each team had a dangerous low cross that was easily controlled, and then in the 12th minute, the Timbers had a good chance with Darlington Nagbe charging into the box, but couldn’t keep the ball on his feet, and after both teams scrambled for the ball, and the Timbers asking for a penalty, the ball was eventually cleared.
In the 20th minute, the Timbers would have the first shot on goal when Rodney Wallace’s blast from 20 yards out appeared headed just inside the far post, but Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum was able to tip the ball just wide. After the ensuing corner kick, Timbers defender Hanyer Mosquera attempted a spectacular bicycle kick when Kris Boyd headed a pass to him, but he missed the ball completely on the attempt.
Shortly afterwards, Columbus would have their first good scoring chance on a free kick just outside the Timbers box, but the shot was into the Timbers wall.
In the 27th minute, the Crew would have perhaps their best scoring chances of the night when a high ball into the Timbers box fell to the foot of Milovan Mirosevic, who didn’t get nearly as much on the shot as he would have wanted, with Mike Chabala stopping the shot on the line, and Jack Jewsbury heading the ball over the crossbar to end the threat. Off the ensuing corner kick, the ball came through to the back post to Josh Williams, whose first shot made it through the Timbers defense before getting stopped on the line by Diego Chara, and his follow up shot going wide into the side netting.
In the 39th minute, off a Timbers free kick by Franck Songo’o, Gruenebaum had to go high to tip the dangerous cross wide and over the endline. The half would end as a scoreless one.
The second half would be a wide-open trilling affair, and it only took 30 seconds for the first scoring chance when Nagbe had a good look from 15 yards out, but put the shot just wide left. In the 48th minute, the Timbers had a few good chances, first on a header by Mamadou Danso that was easily controlled by Gruenebaum, and seconds later a nice deep run by Songo’o whose chip across the goal mouth did not result in a Timbers shot.
In the 51st minute, Chara made a nice run down the middle of the Crew defense, playing a nice pass to Wallace, whose low shot went between the legs of Sebastian Miranda, but was easily smothered by the Crew keeper. A minute or so later, Boyd had a good look at the Crew goal from 15 yards out, but his shot was also right at the Crew goalkeeper.
In the 58th minute, the Timbers had a good chance on a free kick just outside the top of the Crew box, and after discussing the play several times, the ball was tapped wide to Boyd, whose curling shot slipped a yard wide of the right post. Five minutes later, Nagbe made a nice run into the Crew box, eventually finding Boyd who was forced to take the ball to the endline, but his attempt to cross was smothered by the Crew keeper.
Up to this point, the second half had been all Timbers on the attack, but starting in the 66th minute, the Crew would get some good chances of their own, and their best chance of the half would be off a corner kick, when after a second cross into the box, Williams went high for the header and his shot appeared headed just under the bar, but Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins did well to tip the ball over the crossbar. After the ensuing corner kick,Columbus midfielder Ethan Finley had an open shot from 20 yards out but the ball was a few yards over the crossbar.
In the 68th minute, the Timbers looked to be certain to take the lead when Songo’s cross to the far post was met well by a header from Boyd, which slipped inches wide left from only a few yards out. One minute later it was Wallace with the good scoring chance, when he turned on the ball and what appeared initially to be a weak shot was well place, and only a diving tip save from Gruenebaum kept the ball out of the net.
After that ten minute flurry of chances the match tightened up for awhile, and neither team had another good chance until the 82nd minute when Boyd once again had a good header chance for the Timbers, but it was easily saved by the Crew keeper. One minute later Nagbe had a good look for the Timbers from 25 yards out, but the low shot was well smothered.
Neither team would threaten until stoppage time, with each team getting a good chance during the extra three minutes. The first chance would be for the visitors about 90 seconds into stoppage when Justin Meram made a nice deep run to the endline, but his dangerous cross was snagged by Perkins. Just before the end of stoppage, the Timbers had a good chance to steal the win off a late corner kick, but a Boyd header was once again wide, and the exciting match with plenty of chances for each team would have to end in a scoreless draw.