Since their big win in Kansas City, the MLS media have been abuzz about how the Portland Timbers are suddenly a force to be reckoned with in the Supporters’ Shield race. On Wednesday afternoon at Jeld-Wen Field, however, those Timbers couldn’t reckon with the force that is the Atticus Lane-Dupre led Green Machine.
In the second minute, Atticus himself took the ball straight off of Darlington Nagbe’s foot, ran into the middle, and slotted through Will Johnson’s wickets for the opening goal.
After the Green Machine opened an early 3-0 lead, and with the Timbers Army singing “We always win ten-to-nil,” the Timbers showed some of the fightback that has been key to their early season success. After Will Johnson freed himself on the right wing, he crossed to Darlington Nagbe at the far post, who tapped home to bring the Timbers back to 3-1.
Three minutes later, however, Atticus was back at it. After the Green Machine weathered the Timbers’ onslaught, Atticus extended the lead by finishing clinically past a bewildered Jack Jewsbury.
After picking up a yellow card for a hard tackle in the seventh minute, Johnson found the net in the ninth, as Nagbe returned Johnson’s earlier favor by feeding the Timbers’ captain to pull the Timbers back within two.
GMFC responded again, however, tallying a pair of goals in the 10th and 11th minutes, respectively, to take a commanding 6-2 lead over the stunned Timbers.
The 12th minute brought controversy, however. After more than a year of tough calls at home, the Timbers were gifted one when a clear Ryan Kawoluk foul went uncalled, setting the former Portland Pilot through on goal to narrow Green Machine’s lead to three.
Portland would add one more just before halftime, as Sebastian Rincon made one of his signature runs through the Green Machine defense and scored from a tight angle to give the MLS side hope heading into the locker room.
The halftime team talks were indicative of the first half, however, with Green Machine manager Caleb Porter praising his team’s adherence to Porterball’s high pressure and quick passing, and imploring them to go out and beat the Timbers at their own game.
That they did just one minute after halftime, as Green Machine promptly broke down the Timbers midfield and hit them on the break to extend the lead to 7-4.
What seemed a tall task for the Timbers to get back in the game became seemingly impossible in the 17th minute, when captain Will Johnson was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for trampling a Green Machine player.
The five-man Timbers had some fight left in them, however, as 19th minute goals from Nagbe and Jewsbury brought Portland back to within one with just five minutes to play.
Once again, enter Atticus. After the hardworking men of Mount Tabor earned a corner kick, the ball found its way to Green Machine’s captain beyond the far post, Atticus calmly put it home from a tight angle on the right.
The Timbers’ pressure kept coming, however, and in the 22nd minute Rincon buried a jumbled Kawulok cross to pull the Timbers within one goal at 8-7. A minute later, a Caleb Porter side was bit for trying to bunker down defensively for the second time in ten days, as the Timbers broke through a packed-in box to level things at eight.
It was Portland’s defense that got greedy two minutes from fulltime, however, as Green Machine easily passed through a flurry of desperate sliding tackles for the go-ahead goal.
But Rincon wasn’t finished. Once again flashing the brilliance with the ball at his feet that terrorized the MLS Reserve League in 2012, Rincon tore through the Green Machine defense and seemingly salvaged a point for the Timbers with little more than a minute left.
Atticus, however, has seen tougher scrapes before and come out on top, and Wednesday would be no different. With time ticking away and the Timbers clutching the draw, it was Green Machine’s talisman who ran into the teeth of the Timbers defense and coolly slotted into the near corner for the winner.
In the end, Atticus and the Porterballing Green Machine were too much for the Timbers to handle. To the delight of their 3,000 supporters, Green Machine came into Jeld-Wen Field and walked away with the full three points and some of the biggest smiles you’ll ever see.