There were hopes that the Portland Timbers had put the ghosts of allowing a late goal away after their big win over previously undefeated Sporting Kansas City April 21. One week later, and that's not the case. The Timbers lost at the Montreal Impact 0-2 April 28, with some of the same concerns of old back on the front burner.
They were playing on a tough pitch at Stade Olympique, but that's not a good enough excuse for the way the game went. The first goal scored by Montreal could be said to be the result of a bad call, when a hand ball was whistled on new Timbers' defender Steven Smith. It was incidental if it happened at all, as the ball seemed to strike him up the arm, after he deflected it off his foot.
It was in the 76th minute that Bernado Corradi put the penalty kick from the hand ball call into the back of the net. My first thought was that there's one that will be added to the stat of goals given up in the last 15 minutes that really isn't fair, but so goes it. Then Sinisa Ubiparipovic scored in the 86th on a goal that was definitely one that deserved to be a bad stat for the Timbers.
Truth be told, the Impact should have had a couple of goals on the books well before they did. Some misses on very good chances coupled with a few great saves by Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins kept the score locked at 0-0 until the penalty kick. The same side who had locked Sporting Kansas City out of the net a week before seemed to be porous at times again.
Perkins going out changed game
When Perkins was struck in the face when coming out for the ball just as Sanna Nyassi was kicking for the net. After some delay, Perkins left the game with what was reported early as laceration to the nose. The Timbers were threatening before he went out, and the delay seemed to throw their game plan into disarray. When play resumed, it was pretty much all Montreal.
"I don't think we played well at all today," Portland's head coach John Spencer said. "I think that the field was very poor, and it matched with our performance."
It's hard to argue with that. The Timbers did have times when they looked like they were poised to take charge of the game, but there weren't enough minutes where that was the case. It was too bad to see the Rose City side not able to continue the great momentum generated a week before. Now they must address the same old issues before putting on the line again versus the Columbus Crew back in Portland May 5.
Jeff Musall has been a fan of the Portland Timbers since he moved to the area in 2001. He is excited about the 2012 season and wants to see the team turn things around.