By IVES GALARCEP
PORTLAND– Caleb Porter’s voice was hoarse from screaming for the better part of the first half, but that didn’t stop him from sending a clear message at halftime of the Portland Timbers’ match against the New York Red Bulls.
“If I could put all my money on something, it would be us coming back to tie or win this game,” Porter told his team. He said it to motivate his team, but he also believed it could happen.
The Timbers made their coach’s bold statement sound prophetic by rallying from a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-3 tie against the Red Bulls, overcoming a 3-1 halftime deficit and nearly pulling out the victory when an ambitious Ryan Johnson bicycle kick missed wide of the mark.
The match started out in terrible fashion for the Timbers, with French defender Mikael Silvestre and Donovan Ricketts combining for a blunder that set up Fabian Espindola for the first of two error-created goals.
A beautiful Diego Valeri volley helped tie the score for the Timbers, but Silvestre was torched for a second Espindola goal before Jamison Olave finished off a Heath Pearce cross just four minutes later to put the Timbers on the ropes.
Portland responded to Porter’s rousing half-time speech with a dominating display against a Red Bulls side that came out flat in the second half. Darlington Nagbe made it 3-2 in the 56th minute before second-half substitute Jose Valencia dribbled into the area and forced a Jamison Olave own goal to tie the score in the 82nd minute.
Johnson nearly found the winner, but his bicycle kick missed just wide. That didn’t keep the Timbers Army from applauding the Timbers for an impressive comeback in Porter’s debut as head coach.
The Red Bulls will come away disappointed with having blown a two-goal lead, but taking a road point in the debut of rookie head coach Mike Petke was a positive, as was the play of Olave and Espindola, acquired from Real Salt Lake in the off-season.
What did you think of the match? Impressed with the Timbers’ comeback? See the Red Bulls doing damage in 2013, or worry about how they gave up the lead?
Share your thoughts below.