Wednesday’s match between the Portland Timbers and the New York Red Bulls pinned two teams battling for playoff positions in their respective conferences.
For the Timbers, who were in the 7th and final playoff spot in the West, were coming off a 1-0 defeat to D.C. United and had only been able to collect two wins in their last five matches, all at home. For the visiting Red Bulls things were just as bad, with the team only collecting a win and a draw in their last five matches and were on a three-game losing streak.
It was a dream start for the Red Bulls, as they were able to get on the board early and give themselves some breathing space as a Josh Sims cross found right back Kyle Duncan in the far post for an easy put back. It only took three minutes for Sims to again come charging from the left hand side of the field. It took two saves, one from the diving Steve Clark in goal, and another from Bill Tuiloma off the goal line to avoid the Timbers going down 2-0 early in the match.
Off a Red Bull corner the Timbers came marching down off a beautiful counter, but Diego Chara was unable to find the back of the net as his shot with only the keeper to beat went off the crossbar. As the first half continued, Portland started to control the match with their possession and rhythm of play. Unfortunately, they were only able to pepper the Red Bull goal and were unable to put any of their shots on frame and challenge Luis Robles into making any saves.
As the second half started, neither team were able to get control of the match and create any real chances. Playing into Red Bulls hands as they began to try and play out the rest of the game. Finally, a towering header from Claude Dielna almost saw the Timbers draw level, only to see his header go straight into the hands of Luis Robles, but with 25 minutes left, it showed a sign of fight in the attack for the Timbers.
It wasn’t until the 81st minute that the Timbers were able to create another chance as Jeremy Ebobisse found himself alone in front of goal from a long ball, only to hit it on the wrong side of the post, which up to that point, was a perfect representation of Portland’s night.
Even with eight minutes of added time, the night got worse for Portland, with a breakaway counter from New York lead to a last ditch challenge from Moreira and a PK call. Daniel Royer would step up to the spot for New York to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. Finally, in added time Brian Fernandez would miss a sitter wide of the goal.
As the final whistle blew, the Timbers find themselves a point out of the playoffs as Dallas drew away in Seattle. With four games left, the chances of the Timbers saving their season are becoming slimmer by the game.