PORTLAND, OR - SEPTEMBER 16: Diego Chara #21 of the Portland Timbers scores a goal against the Matt Reis #1 goalkeeper of New England Revolution on September 16, 2011 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
The New England Revolution will finish the season winless in the Pacific and Mountain time zones after they fell 3-0 to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field tonight. The loss has all but mathematically ruled the Revolution out of the playoffs, while three points was exactly what Portland needed to keep their postseason hopes a very real possibility.
Diego Chara, Kenny Cooper and Darlington Nagbe were responsible for the damage on a night when they probably could have scored more. Then again, the same could be said for New England, who squandered several very good chances. Instead of goals, the Revs were forced to come away with injuries to Rajko Lekic (left ankle) and A.J. Soares that could hurt them in the final few matches of the season.
The first real dangerous of this match just happened to result in the first goal, and it was in favor of the home side. The Portland Timbers played some very intricate passing combos on the left side, almost toying with the Revolution defense, before Lovel Palmer kept the ball in play on the right and delivered a cross. It was deflected, but the ball found its way to Diego Chara, who pushed forward and then slipped it into the net from point blank range.
The Revolution nearly responded right afterward, creating their best chance of the night out of almost nothing. Kevin Alston put in a low-ish cross from the right side that found its way to Milton Caraglio. The Argentine collected the ball, flicked it up to himself, juggled and then smashed it on the turn, forcing a good save out of Troy Perkins. Darlington Nagbe nearly doubled the Portland advantage two minutes later in the 13th minute off of a Chabala cross.
Sal Zizzo had a long-range blast blocked in the 17th minute, and while the rebound found the back of the net, the flag was raised and it was ruled offside. In the 19th minute, Benny Feilhaber gained possession of the ball off his chest, then used an audacious sombrero move to flick the ball over his shoulder and create space before moving forward. Then, cheekily, he tried to chip a bending ball to the top corner of the far post, but it just skimmed the crossbar.
Lovel Palmer tried a low, 30-yard drive in the 24th minute that was very easily saved by Reis. Futty Danso then nearly scored off a long floated free-kick from Jack Jewsbury, but his header was directed just wide. By this point it was all Portland, with the Revs having difficulty getting the ball, let alone building attacks.
That dominance manifested itself again in the 32nd minute. A Palmer cross found its way all the way over to the left side, where Mike Chabala was waiting. He punched in a dangerous cross and Kenny Cooper bundled it over the line to double the Timbers' lead and pile the misery on the shell-shocked Revolution.
Palmer had a long-range drive thud off the base of the post, and Rajko Lekic fell awkwardly on his left ankle and had to be substituted before the Revs mounted anything resembling an attack. A.J. Soares got a toe to the ball at the near post off a corner, but Perkins was on hand to save the excellent effort. Matt Reis then single-handedly ensured the scoreline would stay the same in first-half stoppage time. He saved a Sal Zizzo drive before denying Nagbe point-blank, even when the rookie did a fantastic job of controlling a tough ball and getting off a shot.
New England found themselves playing far better when the second half started than they had at all in the first half. In the 51st minute, Chris Tierney played in a cross that was headed down by Monsef Zerka, right onto the foot of Caraglio. The Argentine attempted to score with a flick off the outside of his left foot, but he only managed to sky his shot when he should have done better.
In the 59th minute, the Revs spurned a truly gilt-edged chance when Zerka lofted a cross to the far post. Shalrie Joseph rose up highest to meet it, but though he was in prime position to score and had more goal to aim at than not, he headed over the crossbar.
Portland then put the result beyond all doubt in the 65th minute. Khalifa Alhassan dribbled down the left side before flicking the ball over to his right foot and playing in a cross. The ball lofted to the penalty spot, where Nagbe leaped and flicked a header down to the bottom far post corner to make it 3-0 to the home side.
Futty Danso nearly scored a fourth in the 75th minute off a corner, but Matt Reis managed to smother it. The Revs managed one more decent chance in the 89th minute. Kenny Mansally belted in a corner that Franco Coria flicked on to the far post. Caraglio connected with a diving header, but the ball flashed wide and the match finished after just two minutes of stoppage time.