Timbers roll by Rapids, extend unbeaten streak to 15

WillJohnson (Getty)

 

BY MIKE DONOVAN

PORTLAND, Ore.- When a team is on a long unbeaten streak, they usually need some luck to keep their run alive. The Portland Timbers, however, didn’t need any luck as they steamrolled past the visiting Colorado Rapids at Jeld-Wen Field on Sunday.

Led by the play of Rodney Wallace and Will Johnson, the Timbers blew by Colorado, 3-0, and moved into a tie at the top of the league standings with Real Salt Lake. The win gives the club a 15-game unbeaten streak and gave the Timbers their sixth consecutive home shutout.

Will Johnson’s classy finish moments before halftime gave the Timbers a two-goal advantage heading into the break. After Rodney Wallace beat a double team, he found a streaking Johnson, who chipped the ball to his left foot and blasted the ball by a helpless Irwin. Johnson’s goal was the sixth of the season, three more than his previous high for a season.

And while the goal might not top his MLS Goal of the Year in 2008, the strike showcased another side of the Canadian International’s game.

“I just chipped it up on the air and volleyed it with the left, you don’t know if you are capable of something like that until you try it,” Johnson said. “It’s part of expressing yourself as a player, trying things like that. Sometimes they come off, most times they don’t, but when they do, it’s a nice thing.”

Johnson was a constant attacking presence for Portland and had a hand in their first goal. His quick restart set up Wallace, who delivered a cross that found the head of Frederic Piquionne. Piquionne’s goal was his first goal in a MLS game and the 100th since the Timbers joined MLS. In his last five starts, across all competitions, the former West Ham striker has delivered five goals and four assists

Despite having not played a competitive match in a month, due to being called up and then not playing for the Costa Rican National Team, Wallace showed no signs of rust and was a constant threat against Marvell Wynne. His three assists gave him five for the season, which is a new career high for the winger.

The game continues Wallace’s impressive season that has seen the Maryland product emerge into a constant threat for the club.

“It’s nice to have him back. He’s having a breakout year. It goes without saying that we are a better team when he is on the field,” Johnson said.

According to Wallace, the game marked the first time in his playing career that he was able to get three assists in a single match.

“It was definitely a special game for me, something I will always remember,” Wallace said.

Ryan Johnson, who came into the game as a second-half sub, delivered the final scoreline with a calm finish just before the final whistle.

For the Rapids, the loss was their third in eight days and leaves them in seventh place in the Western Conference standings. Colorado outshot the Timbers (18-to-6), but rarely challenged Donovan Ricketts.

Portland’s defense was able to muster its seventh shutout of the season and has given up the second-fewest goals in MLS this season. While the flare at the attacking end has gotten notice, the defense has rounded into one of the league’s best, conceding just two goals in their five June matches.

“The defenders and our goalkeeper never get enough credit,” Will Johnson said. “Caleb mentioned it during the week, we are slowly turning into a great defensive team. Defensively, we’ve been excellent.”

The 15-game streak is the longest ever achieved by a team managed by a first-year coach. Despite that, the former Akron coach is quick to downplay the accomplishments that have been bestowed upon him.

“I’m not a miracle worker. I don’t walk on water. I just coach teams and try to do the best I can to help them win games,” Porter said.

Next up for the Rapids is a third consecutive road match as they travel to Canada to take on the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact.

Portland, meanwhile, will match up with FC Dallas Wednesday night in a US Open Cup Quarterfinal match. The game will mark the end of a stretch that will see Portland play six total matches in an 18-day span. The club’s next league match isn’t until a July 7th match at the Columbus Crew. And despite not losing a match since the second weekend in March, Porter doesn’t believe the Timbers have played their best yet.

“It feels great, but as I told the guys we have a long way to go” Porter said. “What’s scary about this team is that we are just scratching the surface of what this team can be.”

 

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Colorado Rapids, MLS- Portland Timbers. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Timbers roll by Rapids, extend unbeaten streak to 15

  1. Eric says:

    Will Johnson – Goal of the Week – yet another for a Timber this year.

  2. solles says:

    Timber top the table! Nut Montreal has THREE games in hand and is a point back. I do not get MLS scheduling, surely there has to be a way to reduce games in hand, its consistently wacky.

    • BrianK says:

      Thank you,…MLS scheduling is a complete joke! For the life of me I cannot figure it out? Whatever happened to home and away,…home and away by round. At one point this season the Redbulls had played four more matches than several other teams! ???

      In addition,…as a Redbull season ticket holder I get extremely frustrated when the team plays 3 home games in one week and then nothing for weeks on end.

      How bad is it? At Redbull Arena I approached a team official at a courtesy desk and told him I could’nt understand why the schedule was so spastic,,,,3 home games in one week, no games for two weeks,….etc, etc. he looked at me and said,….”we’ll in baseball they have multiple games night after night.” I promptly walked away.

      These are the types of people the worlds greatest game has been entrusted to in the US.

  3. ThaDeuce says:

    ““I’m not a miracle worker. I don’t walk on water. I just coach teams and try to do the best I can to help them win games,” Porter said.”

    Wow. Just wow.

    No doubt he is a great coach, but I don’t think he needed to say he’s not those things, everyone who saw the Olympics knows that.

    • The Big O says:

      Ah yes! I love you people. Take a quote out of context! You must work for ESPN. CP has been put on a pedestal in Portland and he was called a miracle worker. He was deflecting that comment and trying to remain humble. People need to STFU about the Olympics. They had the last game won and the players sucked a big fat one on the field. He’s still the coach of the year in MLS and has turned the Timbers into the team to beat.

      • PetedeLA says:

        Yes.

        I wasn’t able to see this game, but I watched them make the Galaxy look like amateurs last week. Back to front, Caleb Porter has done an amazing job. And they’re fun to watch!

        Will Johnson can also take some credit for being a top class act.