The Portland Timbers' stretch-run slump drags on, as the Rose City side struggled to a 0-0 draw with Minnesota United at Providence Park on Sunday, running their winless skid to three games and extending their goalless drought to the same length, all three of them home matches.
The Timbers fired a barrage of crosses into the Loons' penalty box and uncorked a whopping 37 crosses and 30 shots, 12 of them on target, but could not find a breakthrough. And they very nearly came away with nothing at all, as goalkeeper Steve Clark had to make a clutch 1v1 save to deny Kevin Molino in the late going.
Several promising chances clanged off the woodwork, with Sebastian Blanco – making his first start since Aug. 31 – Robin Lod and Cristhian Paredes particularly unlucky in that regard. Vito Mannone was busy and capable in MNUFC's goal, making 12 saves to post his 11th clean sheet in MLS play this season.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Portland may find their way again in the three games remaining on their schedule, and perhaps this point will turn out to be enough to get them into the postseason. Yet the Rose City crew have completely lost their confidence in front of goal and are tailing off at the most crucial phase of the season. The Loons, on the other hand, keep chugging along and are poised for their first-ever Audi MLS Cup Playoff berth.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: When Jeremy Ebobisse failed to even direct his header on frame after Blanco curled a delicious teasing cross into his path in the 70th minute, it epitomized the ice-cold scoring form of both the striker and his entire team, on this day and in general of late...
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Jan Gregus was calm and authoritative in deep midfield as he marshaled the Loons' resistance, and he served up some excellent dead-ball service to boot.