Timbers Notes: Johnson nets first brace, Wallace shines in start, and more

RyanJohnsonVsHouston (PortlandTimbers)

By MIKE DONOVAN

Prior to Saturday night’s game against the Houston Dynamo, Ryan Johnson had played 156 games in MLS. And despite scoring 28 times in his professional career, he had never scored multiple goals in the same game.

That all changed on the wet turf of Jeld-Wen Field.

Johnson delivered the first brace of his career and gave the Timbers both goals in their 2-0 defeat of the defending Eastern Conference champions.

“He was very good. He’s a workmanlike player and he did that tonight,” Porter said. “He worked them hard running, pressing, and making things happen. He played well.”

In the offseason, Johnson was the key piece in a trade that saw Portland send the No. 3 overall pick to Toronto FC. The Jamaican international has provided the Timbers with a reliable striker since his arrival, having delivered three goals and an assist in his five games.

Johnson, however, preferred to talk about the future of the Timbers.

“We’re not too high, because we know we’re going to win a lot of games here,” Johnson said.  ”We just need to keep doing what we have been doing. As long as we keep doing those things, we’ll be fine.”

Here are some more Timbers notes from Saturday:

WALLACE SHINES IN START

Rodney Wallace has been a much-maligned player for Timbers fans throughout his Timbers career. However, since Caleb Porter has arrived, Wallace has provided a spark for the club in 2013, by delivering some nice play off the bench that included the 90th-minute game-tying goal against rival Seattle.

Porter rewarded Wallace’s performances and gave him a start on the wing  against the Dynamo. Wallace rewarded his coach with a solid effort that saw Wallace lead all attacking players in successful passes and saw him rattle the woodwork on a 25-yard rocket.

“I’ve been patient and I was given a chance and I took advantage of it,” Wallace said.

Wallace, who has 14 caps and 3 goals for the Costa Rican national team, is enjoying his best season since coming to Portland, despite having only played 138 minutes of soccer.

PORTERBALL DOMINATES

Since the beginning of the preseason, a phrase has emerged to describe the type of play new head Caleb Porter wants his team to play with. And “PorterBall” was on full display during the second half Saturday.

The style, which predicates on one-touch passing, quick switches of play, and constant pressure and attacking, seemed to overrun the Dynamo.

“I thought it was a comprehensive performance on both sides of the ball. It really looked like what we want our identity to be,” Porter said.

The stats have correlated with what Porter is seeing. Portland leads the league in passes per game this season and Saturday saw them finish the game with an 83% passing accuracy. In addition, the club is currently in the top five in goals, assists, and shots.

“The stats don’t lie, we have the shots and the possession, all those little things we are at the top of the league in,” Johnson said.

INJURIES MOUNT

Portland lost two starters in the first 30 minutes of Saturday’s game, including its offseason Designated Player signing, Diego Valeri.

Valeri took an elbow from Dynamo defender Jermaine Taylor on a 50-50 ball and was unable to continue. The Argentine International left the field with a gash on the right cheek was spitting blood as he headed towards the bench.

Referee Ricardo Salazar deemed the foul by Taylor to be “careless, but not wreckless.”

Valeri’s injury came minutes after David Horst had to replaced after sustaining a right knee injury. Horst landed awkwardly after making a challenge on Giles Barnes.

Both Barnes and Timbers goalkeeper immediately called for the Timbers trainers and Horst ended up being stretchered off the field. Horst was making just his second start since sustaining a hip injury in the preseason.

 

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13 Responses to Timbers Notes: Johnson nets first brace, Wallace shines in start, and more

  1. ThaDeuce says:

    No love for Chara? That dude was a beast in the second half, setting up the first goal on his own.

  2. Tony in Quakeland says:

    As a neutral observer, I have to say that watching Portland last night was vastly entertaining. Houston had no response other than to try to beat them silly. Not sure if this is the “arrival” of Porterball, but they are a fun team to watch right now.

    Oh, and Robbie Earl is an awesome color guy. He was great to listening to breaking stuff down on the replay, although I’m sure that Houston fans were pretty unhappy with him…

    • NaranjaFanatic says:

      Actually, I was thinking how great Robbie Earl was as well. I thought he was quite objective and insightful. At halftime he basically predicted exactly what happened in the second half.

      As for the game, not a good night for the Houston midfield which is not typical. Portland started getting confidence fairly early in the second half and once that first goal went in they were rolling. Probably would have been a much different result if Weaver would have buried his point blank chance but that’s what happens. You generally get what you deserve and that was true for both teams last night.

      • RAMONE says:

        You don’t think Portland deserved to win?

        • NaranjaFanatic says:

          Of course I do. I meant both teams got what they deserved. Portland deserved the win and three points and that’s just what they got.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        “confidence fairly”

        I’m going to give you credit for a nice Paul Krugman reference there.

        Getting back to Earl, while Kyle Martino and (increasingly) Taylor Twellman are willing to criticize a players performance on the field, I have never heard an ex-player breaking down what players were doing before collisions and suggesting that delivering knocks was a…choice? a tactic? I don’t want to put words in Earl’s mouth, and he was very matter of fact about it, saying it was a professional bit of knowhow to send a message…

        • NaranjaFanatic says:

          It would have been brilliant of me to have slipped in a reference from someone like Paul Krugman in a soccer discussion but actually it was simply awkward wording. Thanks for the benefit of the doubt.

          Your recount of Earl describing Jermaine Taylor’s elbow is exactly what I was thinking of when I thought, “This guy is doing a great job.” Incidentally I was thinking that about Earl and Taylor simultaneously,

      • AdamFromMich says:

        If a team is starting Weaver and counting on him finishing his chances, then they deserve a loss. The injuries definitely hurt Houston a lot, and the (in-game) injuries didn’t hurt Portland much at all. Strange (and probably wrong) to think that Portland might have more depth than Houston.

        Anyway, Portland is a lot of fun to watch, and I wish them luck.

    • RAMONE says:

      I’d agree about premature proclamations of “arrival” (and I am a Timbers fan). I said it with the MLS 2011 team, I will say it now, it is going to be another 2 months before we really see what we have as far as tangible results (i.e. arrival).

      That said, I like what I am seeing. We were incredibly predictable under Spencer – looked like UK 1980s soccer redux with little creativity and ball movement beyond everything goes down the wings for crosses. If the Timbers can continue this (and presumably not regularly have a central defender blow out a knee – possibly broke his ankle, hard to tell from what I saw AND have their central playmaking mid go off with a concussion from a nasty elbow in the first 25 minutes) then I think we are going to be fine and the wins will come.

  3. Nettie says:

    Ryan Johnson DID have 3 goals in a preseason game this year–it might not have counted for much, but at least he’s had practice lifting multiple log slices!

  4. Ilona Pack says:

    Against the Houston Dynamo, Ryan Johnson had played well. In this match he has scored two goals. His performance was tremendous. He has looked very organized. All the best.