Following last weekend's impressive victory over FC Dallas wasn't going to be easy on the road in Portland. The Fire weren't able to build on that in this match and instead reverted to the form that they've displayed for a most of the season, particularly in the final third. With the US Open Cup semifinal on the horizon, Frank Yallop played a strong line-up to start but the result on the field came nowhere near the effort against Dallas. A sluggish first half consisted of a 67% pass completion rate and array of long, hopeful passes and shot attempts. The Fire didn't do much to bother Portland goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey other than a near botch by the 'keeper himself.
The Fire did play well defensively for the most part however. The Timbers did not register a shot on goal in the first half and only two on the night.
Possession and overall play in the second half were improved but there was still little creatively going forward. Despite thirteen shot attempts, the best opportunity to level the match came from a set piece header. At 6-12-4, the playoffs are becoming a pipe dream after following up last week's optimism with another dose of frustration. The Fire didn't play horribly overall on the road in a difficult environment, but once again it just wasn't good enough to win although Yallop thought there was enough there for something.
"I think we deserved to at least get a tie tonight. I thought we created enough chances, we pushed on in the second half. (I'm) just disappointed to come away with no points but that's the way our luck sort of seems to be going away from home," he said after the match.
The Fire had most of their squad available for this match although the newly acquired Gilberto was held out after only going through one full training session with the team on Thursday night. Luck didn't play a part in this one. The disturbing trademark of inconsistency and lack of quality in the offensive half were the culprits on this night.
The season likely now rests on the result of Wednesday night's match in Philadelphia and the habitually tender hamstrings of one, David Accam.
GK Sean Johnson (4.5) - Portland didn't get much in the way of good chances themselves. Johnson had to do better on the cross that he deflected toward Adi for the lone goal of the game.
D Lovel Palmer (6) - The Fire backline did their part throughout most of the match. Palmer was the better of the two fullbacks.
D Jeff Larentowicz (6) - Has been solid in both games since returning from injury.
D Eric Gehrig (5.5) - He was in the vicinity of Adi on the goal but it's difficult to really pin it on him.
D Joevin Jones (5) - Probably gave Valeri a little too much space in which to work in the 49th minute and the subsequent cross found it' way to Adi and the only goal.
M Matt Polster (5.5) - The defensive effort was there again but passing from the middle, particularly in the first 45 left much to be desired.
M Razvan Cocis (5.5) - The central pairing was fair and better in the second half. Cocis did register a late shot on goal in the 86th that was the Fire's last real chance.
M Shaun Maloney (5) - We'll say this again, he needs to be more influential than he has been to date. He was just another player on the pitch when the situation called for more. Had a good look in the 85th and missed the net.
M Harry Shipp (5) - Resorted to numerous long shot attempts that weren't close for most of the night.
F David Accam (5) - Left the match with a hamstring tightness in the 43rd minute, which doused the Fire's best offensive threat. He wasn't exactly lighting up to that point however.
F Jason Johnson (4) - After last week's success against Dallas, Johnson got another chances and contributed close to nothing but an array of awful decisions and bad touches. Ruined counter attacks and unnecessarily taken attempts on net were reminiscent of a former Fire forward. Hopefully he doesn't start hocking t-shirts any time soon.
F Patrick Nyarko (4.5) - Replaced Accam and looked to be a step slow and appeared to be struggling at one point. Diminished playing time over the last two weeks would indicate that Nyarko is at something significantly less than 100% right now.
F Kennedy Igboananike (5) - A header from Maloney's free kick in the 72nd should have at least been put on net. Drew some contact in the box in the 86th minute but the Fire would have been fortunate to have a drawn a call in that instance.