Timbers fight for a point in New Jersey

by Charlie Folkestad
Loria NYRB

Any result would is worthy of applause in Harrison, NJ for a depleted Timbers squad which hadn’t scored in three games.

Jaroslaw Niezgoda gave the visitors a 53′ lead with a near-post finish before Aaron Long swept in a knocked-down corner  for the 67′ equalizer. Final score: 1-1.

Portland’s starting XI was without at least six potential starters against a Red Bulls team which hadn’t earned a win at home.

Patryk Klimala, New York’s No. 9, was in health and safety protocols and missed this match.

New York (predictably) pressured Portland’s inexperienced outside backs, sentencing Portland to long clearances and fewer recoveries.

When the Timbers did work the ball up the pitch, Santiago Moreno was on another level. Portland’s U-22 midfielder kept the ball in tight spaces and mixed defenders with ease.

He had a beautiful would-be assist to Chara, who skied the shot, and an even better strike from distance which hit the crossbar.

New York were not without their chances. John Tolkin squared a ball instead of shooting it in the first half. Tom Barlow hit the side-netting from a decent angle in the 59′. Bingham dropped a couple saves that could have been held.

In all, though, the Timbers showed good fight in a match where everyone expected them to roll over. Gio Savarese once again proved he can motivate his team, even when they have no business being in a tie.

Portland visit LAFC in a cup match Tuesday before hosting Sporting Kansas City next Saturday.

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