well, we earned a point. right? in a post earlier this week i suggested the timbers would not win against the dynamo, but would likely not lose. well, they did not win and they did not lose. what is the saying? from my lips to god's ears? whether they like me or not, somebody up there must listen to me.
so, our second nil-nil draw in as many games. not much can be said about the offensive performance. no, really, there was very little to whet our appetite for creative play or promising runs or goals or anything that would suggest we have a dynamic team (we have now failed to score in nearly 500 minutes of play--ok, 427 to be exact). instead, the timbers delivered an exceptional bit of goalkeeping and a very fine defensive performance from futty, mosquera, and smith. the starting eleven remained unchanged from the crew, with the exception of steven smith at leftback.
having played on the weekend, the dynamo came off short rest, a long road trip, and presented a good opportunity to pick up more than the minimum points. sometimes tactics can make up for fatigue. from the outset, it was clear the dynamo did their homework. they dominated our midfield, they retained 62% of the possession of the ball, and they pushed our play to the wings, effectively isolating boyd from the attack. as we have seen in previous matches, boyd is not a player who thrives with ball-to-head play. and by all accounts, he was foolish for lacing a stinging header into the net on his debut (which likely gave the creatives a false impression that aerials are his forte). since that moment, he has yet to connect his head on anything lobbed in from the wing when it counts.
even worse, boyd's strike partner did not assist the attack with his naive and timid play. darlington nagbe is as enigmatic of a player as they come. during the time he was placed out on the wing he was useless. when he returned to the number 10 (or the false 9, depending on how you fancy it) against the crew he teased us with glimpses of the creative brilliance we expect from him. against the dynamo he was anything but electric. he danced around with the ball some, took a few touches, and then decided he no longer wanted the ball so he would pass back to the central defense, or worse--lovel palmer. when not playing negatively, he challenged the rodwall for the number of senseless offside calls to halt our advancements in attack.
aside from his foolish play, nagbe's primary contribution to the match came in the 67 minute following a sal zizzo run to the byline. zizzo drove to the edge and cut back an angled pass to nagbe. nagbe had all the time in the world to set up for the pass, it was clear zizzo was looking for him, instead, he dribbled down his leg with the timidity of a two-pump chump, taking two touches and then blasting the ball into the on-rushing defender. had he the intelligence to prepare for the pass, setting his body to take a one-touch shot, i would likely be praising his efforts rather than scolding him. but, no, he did not.
our offense was not without bright spots, but they were limited. the day after his publicly announced birthday, our favorite cameroonian did everything he could to ignite the offense. he made several runs down the right wing, putting balls into the box whenever possible. in the 22 minute, he placed a beauty of a ball across goal only for nagbe to be called off. not that it mattered much--nagbe missed the header.
brief note: it was good to see zizzo's motor on the pitch again.
speaking of notes: i take them throughout every match to help remind myself of the prominent points i would like to impart to you. i know i wanted to say something about #facepalmer, especially after he was so shockingly awarded the armband after jewsbury went off due to injury. unfortunately, all i have is "palmer is a nob" and "palmer is still a nob." had he followed up his thunderous strike from 25 yards out in the 12 minute with comparative play he would have put in a great shift. had he. instead, he fell into gameplay obscurity. honestly, what does he add to the side? currently, we play a formation with two defensive midfielders. i am never one to complain about too much defense, or too many defensive midfielders, but the current formation lacks offensive bite and has been debunked--it does not work. palmer's place in the starting eleven eliminates a spot for a truly creative midfielder, something diego chara is not.
conversely, our defense does work. futty and mosquera are starting to develop a great understanding with one another. they are big, unfussed, rarely caught out of position and recover well. aside from one hilarious cock-up, when futty whiffed an attempted clearance during the 23 minute, there was very little the centerbacks did not handle with aplomb. they are now my prefered pairing.
and to his credit, steve smith handled himself incredibly well. i know there was some consternation with the idea of him starting after the montreal debacle, but i thought he was hard done by the rust and lack of game fitness and really did not show his quality. against the dynamo, i believe he showed the quality of play we missed in a leftback, keeping will bruin relatively quiet for the 60 or so minutes he played. but his best contribution came in the 44 minute when he ran down macoumba kandji to tackle him from behind, preventing a counterattack that may well have ended in a goal.
while the defense did well, it was troy perkins who anchored the timbers resolve to not lose. perfecting the art of the dramatic save, perkins came out wide and flapping. a 67 minute save of a luiz camargo attempt typified his efforts. calen carr set loose luiz with an incisive pass to the right side of the 18 yard box. taking the ball in stride, luiz moved towards the 6 yard box and let loose a right-footed shot. looking more like peter schmeicel than some fella from ohio, perkins got large and charged luiz with his arms extended and legs moving. it must have worked, because luiz launched one into perkins's out-stretched arms. that moment saved the timbers a point and the timbers faithful further heartache. in all, perkins made 7 saves on the night and was my man of the match.
with that, enjoy your day!
player ratings tomorrow.