For one half, this was a continuation of Wednesday, with RSL maintaining plenty of possession against a side with their hearts set on defence.
Then the hitherto uninvolved Alvaro Saborio perked up and the rest is history.
Nick Rimando: Rimando had very little to do in the first half. He punched away a Steven Smith corner on 33, not a great punch but enough. After that, a comfortable day. 6/10
Tony Beltran – Beltran returned after injury. Poor penalty area clearance on 29, nearly presented Portland with a gift. Lucky to see shot blasted over. But other than that, a decent return from injury. 6/10
Jamison Olave – Also returning, Olave had a confident first early header to clear a Smith cross. Moved well to get on a free kick as an attacking option in 35, but was not facing goal and headed over. The lack of a challenge was perhaps a bigger factor in his reaching the ball first. His napper was RSL’s most potent offensive weapon in the first half. His replacement was good, but having him back makes this side more confident all round. 7/10
Nat Borchers – Borchers stood his ground but allowed Alexander freedom to run at the goal. Provided good aerial threat early second half. 6.5/10
Chris Wingert – early head clash with Eric Alexander, but should have been more supportive offensively in the opening half. In the second half he was, providing that devilish through ball that served Saborio’s second goal and confounded Steven Smith. 7/10
Ned Grabavoy – went off in 20 for Gil. Grabavoy may have been wounded for some of his twenty minutes. Without the knowledge of the extent of that injury, it would be unfair to award a rating.
Kyle Beckerman – allowed Nagbe to run too far, miscontrolled a good cross allowing Chara to tackle. Beckerman was getting involved but it was just not going right. However, it was his cross that brought goal one on an otherwise average night. Charitably one could say his is saving his most influential still for San Jose when it will be needed. 6/10
Javier Morales – Morales provided some nice trickery in 18 inside the box that Grabavoy could not use and was once more deprived of glory when Luis Gil failed to make the most of a lovely chip in 27. He was far more involved than on Wednesday. He himself showed some poor decision on 40 when Paulo fed him. At 2-0 up, the old magic came back. Late on he was denied late by Perkins as Timbers fell apart. He deserved a goal himself but there was something more important taking place here. He admitted in a post match interview, the Old Javi never went away. Now we can all believe. 8/10
Will Johnson – good long range effort finally made Perkins work and woke up the crowd. In 22, a nice dribble created space for another effort. Although not moving the dial, Johnson’s early efforts invoked some uncertainty in the Portland defence and forced them to close down a little quicker.
This created the space behind the backline that was absent on Wednesday against Seattle. The message should be “Have a go and have a go early.” Johnson continues to be one of the most underrated players in the league but is pivotal to this side’s ability to function at peak performance. 7.5/10
Alvaro Saborio – Saborio coasted for 57 minutes. At that point he decided that if he was going to be entertained, he would do it himself. In the 58th he worked well with Gil to provide the first dangerous cross. Seconds later, he just failed to connect to a Morales cross.
That he had suddenly become interested became crucial some more seconds later when he brilliantly deflected a Beckerman cross into the net. Some more seconds later it was two after he read a Wingert cross far better than a confounded Steven Smith.
He was only denied a hat trick by Chara’s handball but claimed it seconds later from the spot anyway. If he played like this for the full 90, he would be one of the top strikers in the league. He would also be looking at the first ever 10 in the history of these player ratings. 9/10
Paulo – Paulo found it tough to get involved for half an hour before a decent move with Gil. He also found Morales well on 40 on an effort which deserved a shot out of the Argentinian. (off in 53) 6/10
Luis Gil (on in 21) – Gil was not as lively as on Wednesday though coming on early is never easy. His performance was a microcosm of the side’s as he struggled initially before the confidence reached a tipping point and he flourished. He as involved in the deadlock breaking goal. One suspects that the best way to use his talents has not yet been discovered. He has plenty decent teachers to learn from. 6.5/10
Emiliano Bonfigli (on in 53) – was sparky in harassing Timbers defenders on the ball, prompting errors. He was denied late by Perkins. In a post match interview, Morales confessed that his play is being inspired by the youthful enthusiasm of the youngsters around him. Bonfigli was sitting next to him the time. Beaming 6.5/10