September 21, 2007

Atlanta-Portland, 1st leg, USL-D1 semifinal


Well, not quite sure what to say about that one. Atlanta and Portland finished at 1-1 in the first leg of their semifinal series tonight at the RE/MAX. A Classic Warren Ukah Goal™ put the Silverbacks up right before halftime, but Bryan Jordan canceled that out five minutes after the restart. Atlanta now has to do something that no team has done in 2007, win in Portland.

Thoughts:
  • Great individual performances out of Rodrigo Rios and Scott Buete tonight. Rios was as active as he's been all season, and was the primary source of the Atlanta offense for the first sixty minutes. Buete made up for the absence of the injured Tony McManus with his bulldog-like play in the center of the field.
  • The Timbers controlled the first twenty minutes or so, things were looking pretty ugly.
  • However, Atlanta began to find space out wide (mainly with Rios on the left) and started to take advantage.
  • Millwood is credited with an assist on Ukah's goal, but I couldn't tell what was going on from where we were. A scrum in the box, and the ball trickled across the line. Weirdness.
  • Portland leveled it with a long ball that got over Jarun's head. Jordan was able to avoid the onrushing McIntosh and score on his own.
  • The last thirty minutes finally saw Atlanta feeding Macoumba Kandji on the right side of midfield. He created a ton of chances with his speed and tricks, but couldn't get the go-ahead goal that was so desperately needed. He nearly scored on a two footed lunge after a great ball from Rivillo.
  • Tons of shirt pulling from the Portland defenders on Kandji and Millwood, the speed was definitely causing them problems.
  • Josh Wicks was very strong for the Timbers tonight, making ten saves overall.
  • Atlanta hit the crossbar on a chance late in the game on a corner. Millwood lunged at a ball in the six yard box, but couldn't keep the shot down. Lancaster also had a header cleared off the line.
  • The Silverbacks played with great urgency in the last twenty minutes, I wish they could've found a way to do that earlier.
  • Rivillo changed the game when he came on, a playmaker in the middle was desperately needed. That's no knock on Liendo, who filled in quite well for McManus, the team just needed more of an offensive presence in the midfield at that stage of the game.
  • I would've loved to have seen more of Antoniuk as well, he never really got a chance to get going. He wasn't the league's leading scorer for nothing, you know.
  • The linesman on our side blatantly missed two cheap shots by Porland players directly in front of him. Rios took a late shoulder to the jaw in the first half, Antoniuk took a forearm to the head in the second. Overall, the refereeing was very uneven.
Hard to be disappointed, but it did feel like an opportunity was lost tonight. It's rare to see the Timbers put under that type of pressure, but they got the draw that they're more than likely satisfied with. Portland has to feel confident heading back to the West Coast, they only gave up six goals in fifteen games at PGE Park this season.

It's going to be up to the speed of the Silverbacks to cause Portland's well organized defense to crack. The longer the game stays scoreless, the harder it will be for Atlanta. I think the Silverbacks will be best served by going for the game early. Even still, that might not be enough. I'm sure the Timbers will have a huge crowd that will make for an intimidating atmosphere.

Let's hear your thoughts in the comments.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tell B Money I didn't mean to stiff him a handshake! I was too excited about my parking spot I guess. :)
-Gttt

Anonymous said...

I am going to have to watch the replay but it looked as if three Silverbacks players were taken down in the box plus I think Portland had a handball in the box also. I am also going to look at the PR-Seattle match to see if I see some ref shenanigans in that game. It almost looks like the league wants a Portland-Seattle final.

Longshoe said...

There was a couple of calls that could've went the Silverbacks' way in the box, but they were pretty close. My main gripe on that end of things was the ridiculous amount of shirt pulling (and shorts pulling once in Millwood's case). The ref never got control of that.

The handball, if it's the same one I'm thinking of, looking like chest or shoulder to me. It definitely didn't look like the defender tried to play the ball with his arm, it would've been a really harsh call.

I don't know about a conspiracy, especially since the assistant refs are local guys. It's just a shame the local guys sucked tonight.

Anonymous said...

From what I hear, the local refs are afraid of being accused of taking the local teams side so they usually lean toward the visiting team with the calls.

Longshoe said...

Could be, you never know. The assistant that drove me nuts sucked both ways, so I think that's his biggest problem.

I don't think the refs are to blame for the draw here though.

Anonymous said...

So, I guess you are going to start whining about the Silverbacks organization in general and the coaching in particular now that they did not win tonight. They looked good to me and deserve some credit for going this far into the playoffs. It is really amazing that they have gotten this far with the injuries to McManus, Hassim, Moore, O'Brian,and Smith.

Anonymous said...

could we delete the previous idiot's bitchy statement?

Anonymous said...

I expected more than that from you guys. Where is all the disenchantment we were hearing from you at the beginning of the season? Please, give us some more of your wisdom.

Ol' Organization said...

Anonymous my ass. You've had the same damn excuse all year long and can't figure out anything else to say but bitch at people who expressed opinions that are different than yours (which obviously must be right). I'm sure you were at the game tonight and saw that a huge chance to be up in this series was missed AND MAYBE IF YOU'D TAKE THE TIME TO READ THE ORIGINAL DAMN POST NEXT TIME then you would see that no one said a word about your precious organization and coach. Their must brainwashing going on somewhere to program one response from you.... I bet I know where it is. I hope your river of tears is clearing trees under 285 so there's parking space next season.

Anonymous said...

Don't be hard on them. They are just learning the game.

Anonymous said...

You are really desperate now but I understand.

Anonymous said...

Why am I the only person that ever posts comments here? I am just trying to give you guys a hard time so that we can get some give and take but no one else ever picks up on it. I have no hard feelings for anyone but I can't get anyone else to post their opinions. I am really just a neutral observer that is trying to get more opinions but it is not happening.

Anonymous said...

you guys should get rid of the anonymous thing, this is no fun, you can't tell who is talking.

Anonymous said...

The reason no one else posts here is because you and I are the only ones that bother to visit this site.

Anonymous said...

Come on you bunch of wooses. Stay up for the banter! You fell asleep on me.

Anonymous said...

Give it up. This site was dead before it even started.

Longshoe said...

I'm embarrassed for a lot of you, that's for sure.

It really isn't hard to sign your comment, unless you don't want people to realize where the childishness comes from. I've noticed that anonymous does post a lot around here, but most of the intelligent comments have a name attached.

Keep talking about how few people read the site, but it's obvious you love it since you're posting at 3 am. Thanks for the support!

So few people read it that there's more comments here than at the USL Discussions board about the game.

Comment moderation is back on. Hopefully some of you will get over yourselves after getting sleep.

POPS94 said...

It makes me laugh when anonymous people argue. Its like two invisible people getting in a boxing match. They can throw all the punches they want but they can't ever land the punches since they can't see each other.

Red State-Blues City said...

I'd call that shit a slap-fight more than anything else, limp wrists and all. Man up and sign your shit, or go home.
Yes, the ref's sucked.
Kandji made great space on his side, strong moves and all, but needs to look to make runs to the back post when the switch obviously isn't coming. Too often, he seemed adrift when the ball was on the opposite side.
Rivillo was in fact the most interesting player to watch as soon as he walked on the field.

Longshoe said...

You know RS-BC, that's a good point. Let's see how it goes with the changes now...

Sign up for a FREE Google account so you can leave comments. Most everybody has one at this point anyway, and I'm tired of allowing some people to hide behind their finger pointing and whining.

Have fun kiddies...