From elation to frustration.
That sums it up after the Portland Timbers followed up their feel-good 1-0 victory last weekend over the hottest team in the league in Sporting Kansas City with a 2-0 defeat on Saturday to the expansion Montreal Impact on the old turf at Olympic Stadium.
HIGHLIGHTS: Montreal 2, Portland 0
“I don’t think we played well at all today,” Timbers head coach John Spencer told reporters after the match. “I think that the field was very poor, and it matched with our performance.”
Nothing went right for Portland as they unearthed a familiar demon with two goals conceded in the final 15 minutes, pushing their league-leading total of goals in that span to seven.
And now they’ve added a lack of offense to their struggles, having failed to score in the last two games on just six shots on goal. Last week’s 1-0 win was thanks to an own-goal by Kansas City.
“Montreal played better than us, they worked harder than us, so they deserved the victory,” Timbers striker Kris Boyd said.
And as Portland’s luck would have it lately, Montreal’s first goal came after the Timbers’ newly signed defender Steven Smith was whistled for a controversial handball in the box, leading to a penalty kick from Bernardo Corradi in the 76th minute. Sinisa Ubiparipovic scored in the 84th minute to seal the victory for Montreal.
“I think the penalty decision changed the game,” Boyd said. “But we need to look at our performance. It wasn’t good enough on the road.”
Adding injury to insult, it was another rough-and-tumble game for the Timbers. After combining for 28 fouls in the SKC game, Portland and Montreal were whistled 24 times and Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins and defender Steve Purdy both were knocked out of the game with injuries.
According to the team, Perkins received a laceration to the nose that had to be glued after he and Sanna Nyassi came together. Purdy, who also left late in the game with a heel injury against SKC, sustained a concussion in the 20th minute.
In the end, the frustrated Timbers had little explanation for their fifth loss in six games, other than to say they needed to be better.
“Montreal was playing at home, they’ve been solid, and we knew they were going to come out hard,” Portland midfielder Jack Jewsbury said. “First half ended 0-0, so we wanted to at least try to get out of here with a point. We don’t know if the penalty kick was deserved, if there was a hand ball or not. But at the end of the day we needed to be better and we weren’t good enough tonight.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.