The Portland Timbers lost to the Montreal Impact 2-1 on Saturday March 9, 2013. It was the second disappointing result in a row at home for the Timbers in front of their home town fans at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers tied their season opener 3-3 to the New York Red Bulls.
For the second game in a row the Timbers dug themselves a hole giving up two goals and having to battle back in order to try to salvage a point at home. Center forward Ryan Johnson scored his first goal of the 2013 campaign and got the Timber within one goal in the 80th minute but the Timbers were unable to find the equalizer.
Once again the Timbers dominated the run of play for much of the game. They outshot Montreal 19-9, but only looked really dangerous on a couple of occasions. Short, quick passes allowed the Timbers to keep possession of the ball, but they were unable to crack the Montreal defense until there was only ten minutes remaining.
The defense was the culprit again for the Timbers. The back four looked shaky on the two goals they conceded and looked vulnerable to the counter attack through out the evening. Head coach Caleb Porter’s system calls for the outside backs to push up in the offense end of the field, which left goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts exposed too often.
Johnson’s goal came off of a beautiful cross from new Timber Ben Zemanski, who came on as a halftime substitute for midfielder Kalif Alhassan. Zemanski previously played for coach Porter at the University of Akron.
Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins is a former Timber, who was traded in the middle last season. Perkins was a fan favorite when he was in Portland and received a warm welcome from the Timbers Army at the start of the second half when he defended the north end goal. At the conclusion of the game, Perkins acknowledged the Timber’s Army and was reciprocated with a chant from the crowd. It’s not often that a rival player, even former Timbers, are greeted with such respect, and it showed how much the hometown fans appreciated Perkins during his time here.
The last two season the Timbers started off with great wins in their home opener only to see the season quickly go sour. After the come back tie against New York to open this season, there was renewed hope that the Timbers would not repeat the lapses that have happened in the past. Unfortunately this match against Montreal looked a bit like the Timbers of old and the disappointing feeling the fans were left was only too familiar. After only getting one point out of a possible six in the two home matches and heading to Seattle for an away match with the rival Sounders, the optimism that surrounded coach Porter’s debut has been momentarily tempered.