Timbers 0 – 0 Dynamo
Are the Timbers finally out of the forest?
This is a fair question for Timbers optimists to ask as the Portland Timbers (2-5-3, 9 points, 9th in Western Conference) put up their third shutout of the season on the Houston Dynamo (3-3-3, 12 points, 5th in Eastern Conference) in front of 22,039 at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Hey, a clean sheet is a clean sheet, but it means nothing if the Timbers can’t score goals.
1) Boyd’s Physicality
Although Portland has relied on the Scotland-native for scoring, it was Kris Boyd‘s bruising play that was crucial in the scoreless draw. He committed four fouls in the game, topped off by a yellow card during extra time in the second half. While he was unable to put a shot on goal, Boyd left his footprint on the match.
2) The Defense
For the third time in four matches, goalkeeper Troy Perkins maintained a clean sheet, after not putting together one in Portland’s first six matches. He made seven saves in the match, highlighted by a beauty in the 87th minute from Dynamo attacker Calen Carr.
All of the responsibility does not lie at Perkins’ feet, but rather his defense’s. The Timbers’ defense has resembled Swiss cheese for the first part of the season, something that Perkins has prevented from looking even worse. That said, Perkins gave credit to his defense in an interview with MLSSoccer.com for their play, specifically in the last part of the second half:
“Especially for the last 25 minutes, we knew they were just going to press and press and press,” Perkins said. “That’s how they play. And we were fortunate a little bit, but I think the guys did an exceptional job to limit their chances.”
3) A Point on the Road
The Timbers entered Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium at a bad time as the Dynamo were playing in their first night match in the Dynamo’s new home, which created more of a buzz than usual. Despite playing in front of 22,039, and facing a late barrage of shots on Perkins and his defense, the Timbers were able to keep their composure and take home a much needed point on the road. The Timbers are still win-less in four matches away from Jeld-Wen Field.
1) Slow Start
Coach John Spencer’s boys looked like a team that had 10 day lay-off as the Dynamo controlled possession early on in the match. The team was unable to find the mark on the net and left their fate in the hands of a defense that was shaky at best in the first six matches of the season. Offensively, the team appeared to be passive, which is a strikingly different theme than earlier in the season.
2) Lack of Shots on Goal
A 25-yard look early in the match was all that threatened Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, as the first blast came in the 12th minute. He was challenged only once more in the game. At some point, the team will need to put together a quality offensive performance and a quality defensive one in the same match.
Portland now trails the all-time series against the Dynamo 2-1-0 and will not play them again in 2012. The Dynamo are now 1-0-1 in their new digs this season. The Timbers are now 0-3-2 on the road. Overall, Portland is 2-4-3 in night games and 0-2-2 when being held scoreless.
Up next for the Timbers is the Chicago Fire (4-2-3, 15 points, fourth in the Eastern Conference) at Jeld-Wen Field on May 20.
Full Match Highlights