Depleted Timbers draw ‘draw merchants’ Nashville SC 1-1 at home

by Charlie Folkestad
Aljaz Ivacic after a big save versus Nashville SC

A Portland side without its first-, second-, and third-choice midfielders drew Nashville SC 1-1 in Providence Park on Wednesday. Considering the circumstances, it’s a pretty solid result, and one that keeps the Timbers in the thick of the Western Conference playoff hunt.

It shouldn’t be a surprising result, either, given both teams’ propensities to share points this season. This is Nashville’s ninth draw of 2022, while the Timbers have a league-high 11. These teams also drew 2-2 in Nashville a month ago.

Also, Nashville have drawn 35 games out of 81 tries since entering MLS in 2020. That’s over 43%, and has to be some kind of record.

Portland’s back five handled MVP candidate Hany Mukhtar & Co. relatively well, although the visitors struck first via a Teal Bunbury strike off an uncleared corner kick in the 20′.

Luckily for Portland, Santiago Moreno woke up on the right side of the bed. The Colombian youngster equalized seven minutes later in a similar fashion to Bunbury’s opener.

He was easily Man of the Match, completing 44 of 44 passes, winning half his duels, completing four of five dribbles and generally providing a creative spark for an otherwise boring Portland offense.

The only one giving Moreno a run for his MoTM money was Aljaz Ivacic, who had two massive saves to keep the Timbers’ heads above water.

Portland were heated at referee Silviu Petrescu in the first half, but were perhaps fortunate he didn’t call a penalty on Moreno tackling Mukhtar from behind (nor a foul for Marvin Loria running into the back of Alex Muyl) in the second half.

Both teams lost energy as the game wore on, and both conceded half-chances that could have been goals. In stoppage time, substitute Nathan Fogaca hit the side-netting after scrambling away from his defender.

A point is tough to swallow at this stage of the season, but win the must-win against Dallas on Saturday and the Timbers are in a really good position heading towards the playoffs.

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