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Timbers rally from two goals down to tie Red Bulls


PORTLAND– Caleb Porter’s voice was hoarse from screaming for the better part of the first half, but that didn’t stop him from sending a clear message at halftime of the Portland Timbers’ match against the New York Red Bulls.

“If I could put all my money on something, it would be us coming back to tie or win this game,” Porter told his team. He said it to motivate his team, but he also believed it could happen.

The Timbers made their coach’s bold statement sound prophetic by rallying from a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-3 tie against the Red Bulls, overcoming a 3-1 halftime deficit and nearly pulling out the victory when an ambitious Ryan Johnson bicycle kick missed wide of the mark.

The match started out in terrible fashion for the Timbers, with French defender Mikael Silvestre and Donovan Ricketts combining for a blunder that set up Fabian Espindola for the first of two error-created goals.

A beautiful Diego Valeri volley helped tie the score for the Timbers, but Silvestre was torched for a second Espindola goal before Jamison Olave finished off a Heath Pearce cross just four minutes later to put the Timbers on the ropes.

Portland responded to Porter’s rousing half-time speech with a dominating display against a Red Bulls side that came out flat in the second half. Darlington Nagbe made it 3-2 in the 56th minute before second-half substitute Jose Valencia dribbled into the area and forced a Jamison Olave own goal to tie the score in the 82nd minute.

Johnson nearly found the winner, but his bicycle kick missed just wide. That didn’t keep the Timbers Army from applauding the Timbers for an impressive comeback in Porter’s debut as head coach.

The Red Bulls will come away disappointed with having blown a two-goal lead, but taking a road point in the debut of rookie head coach Mike Petke was a positive, as was the play of Olave and Espindola, acquired from Real Salt Lake in the off-season.

What did you think of the match? Impressed with the Timbers’ comeback? See the Red Bulls doing damage in 2013, or worry about how they gave up the lead?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Portland’s defense was pretty dreadful last night. People kept talking about what a great deal it was for the Timbers to get Mike Harrington, even though the last time he saw appreciable first-team minutes for Sporting Kansas City was when they were still the Wizards and missing the playoffs.

    • Yeah, and Harrington was the reason for the defensive errors—-uhm, did you even watch the game?!!

      Harrington was brilliant at both ends. The central defenders were the ones who had issues last night.

  2. I’m a big NYRB fan, but it’s hard not to like Caleb Porter or respect the Timbers organization / fans. Huge props to them on a game well-played last night.

  3. Awesome game, extremely entertaining. Natural grass most be a HELL of maintenance issue in this part of the country, resulting in artificial turf.

  4. Am I the only one who first saw Espindola with his hair cut and thought, what the crap is Marquez still doing on NYRB ??

  5. … Mikael Silvestre …

    Careful Donovan, this guy could cost you your job, just ask Tim Howard.

    I don’t know why MLS went out and got this “also ran”

  6. Just finished watching the highlights for this game and my biggest take away was that Portland is somehow playing on turf now. With the grass field gone I’m curious to know what their new go to “but were still better than Seattle because….” argument is now. I’m guessing this is how Seattle fans reacted to the news. –>

    • PS Forgot about the part where Silvestre gave up a goal because he’s not used to playing on turf and misjudged the bounce. Pretty funny stuff. Somehow that giveaway goal by Ricketts and Silvestre was only the 3rd most embarrassing things about this game for the Timbers.

    • Uhhhhhh……

      Where have you been the last two MLS seasons? Portland has always played on turf, always. If you are going to troll you might want to know what you are talking about.

      • Jeld-Wen Field sits low in a old gully, surrounded by high buildings. In a rainy climate like Portland, a turf field would just be mud.

      • Exactly and then add in that the pitch would get no sun and you would have to use grow lights. Having been down in the bowels of Jeld Wen there is no place to store them currently.

      • And, at least in the fall, the Timbers share the field with the Portland State University handegg/pointyball team.

    • LOL! This is beyond hysterical in it’s ignorance.

      Jeld Wen never had a grass field.

      Also, Seattle plays on turf too. The exact same kind as we’ve got (FieldTurf), except that we had it from the start of our MLS campaign. Seattle only added it last season—before that it was a essentially a grass-mat on cement for them.

  7. NY should’ve put this away but Henry and Cahill just weren’t showing up. Juninho was impressive and Olave and Espindola very much. Olave’s own goal was a shame.

    I don’t feel that Silvestre should get that much stick, it was Porter’s own idiocy to start him so damn soon to just coming and also wtf was Ricketts doing trying to pick up a backpass? If that wasn’t a goal it would’ve/should’ve been a penalty.

    NY will be a force this year if Henry shows up like last season. Cahill as well

    • Nah, not really Ricketts fault there he was somewhat lazy in waiting for the ball to roll to him but no idea why Silvestre passed it to him. Also it’s not a penalty for a backpass it’s the rare indirect free kick from inside the box. But like you said they scored anyways.

    • Even if Ricketts had picked up the ball, it wouldn’t have been a penalty. A keeper that handles the ball on a back pass results in an indirect free kick, not a penalty kick.

      • All the more reason Ricketts was partially culpable. Looks like he hesitated to jump on it. If he couldn’t kick it out, at least he he should’ve just flopped onto it and let the RBs take the indirect free kick. Too slow to react.

    • He looked stunned, like the last thing he expected was a BACK PASS 6 feet from the goal line. He should have taken initiative on that play to begin with, but still.

    • As a USSF Certified Referee, I can definitely say not a penalty if Ricketts picks up the backpass. Rather, indirect free kick to RBNY from the spot of the infraction. Thus, IFK three yards from goal. Portland could then have arranged a wall on the goal line. This is the one situation I am aware of in which you can have a wall less than 10 yards away from the ball on a free kick restart.

      • IFK infraction in the goalbox is spotted on the 6 yard goal box the point nearest the infraction

  8. Not sure you can praise Olave too much since his own goal resulted in the tie.

    Portland put the league on notice tonight. Well played.

  9. I will always be a fan of Mike Petke, but I was truly proud of the Timbers tonight. Somehow, a win still seemed possible when they were 3-1 down, and that is a HUGE change from last season. I have a lot of confidence in Caleb Porter and the team this year.

  10. I was entertained the entire match.

    Impressive 1st half for NJRB – Woeful 1st half for Portland.

    Impressive 2nd half for Portland – Woeful 2nd half for NJRB.

    As a neutral, it was a blast and a great way to kick off the season.

    Surprisingly, the most notable Frenchman in this match was Mikael Silvestre for his horrendous 1st half and nicely rebounded/fairly solid 2nd half. Where was the other notable Frenchman in this match?


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