Portland beat the Quakes 1-0, and the stats proved they were the better team, but Quakes fans are extremely bitter about this defeat.
Mattias Perez Garcia was unexpectedly pulled from the lineup, leaving the Quakes with zero DPs against the Timbers, and their full complement of DPs: Diego, Adi, and Valeri. Portland also had zero players called up for Gold Cup duty for yesterday’s game (supposedly Powell is on-call for Jamaica), while the Quakes were missing Wondo and Cato, so the Quakes were clearly playing at a disadvantage. Nyassi was also serving a one-game suspension. To be fair, the Timbers were without Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe due to injury.
Despite losing 1-0, the Quakes proved their defense continues to be a top line in the league, and are currently tied for fourth in Goals Allowed Average of just 1.0 goals/game. During the entire match, the Quakes continued to frustrate the Portland offense, so that when PTFC finally scored after 91 minutes, you would have thought they won the World Cup.
The Quakes should have had an early goal, but an uncalled handball by Alvas Powell preserved the 0-0 score. The refs also missed a Tommy Thompson PK, the AR did not call an obvious offsides which referee Ricardo Salazar corrected, did not issue a yellow on Powell clipping Barrera from behind on a potential goal-scoring cross/opportunity, did not issue a yellow on Gaston Fernandez ripping off his shirt after a correctly-called offsides goal, and called a Gaston Fernandez flop which set up a set piece for the eventual game-winner. The refs did correctly card Sherrod for his elbow in the second half (Sherrod was on a warning after Ridgewell drew blood, although replaces showed that Ridgewell headbutted Sherrod to cause the cut), and Goodson’s interference in 51′, leaving many Quakes fans wondering about ref impartiality.
Some sobering stats to show PTFC was the better side: they dominated shots (23-7), shots on goal (7-2), possession (61%-39%), total passes (454-291), and scoring chances (16-4). The Quakes were simply missing too many pieces to the puzzle, and our inexperience showed as we struggled to string passes together and maintain possession.
I am surprised Dom continues to use a one forward set, subbing out Sherrod for Jahn, instead of going with two forwards (Sherrod AND Jahn) to try and generate some chances. I am also extremely eager to get Nyassi and MPG back on the pitch, but as I predicted back in April, MPG may be an injury nightmare. With Wondo and Cato out for the foreseeable future, we have to be able to rely on consistent starters.
The Quakes did not deserve the win, but they did not deserve the loss either; a 1-1 score would have been a fair result given the Powell handball and Tommy’s non-call. But such is the life of MLS Soccer, and too often the referees dictate the outcome of the game, rather than the players. Up next: the Houston Dynamo on Friday at Avaya. See you there!
Photo Credit: PTFC Facebook Page