Apple, may I have a word? Your commentators suck, except for Ziven. This is the second game I’ve noticed that your commentators didn’t have a script for Portland being the better team. In response they either kept to the irrelevant script, in the case of Twellman gushing over Seattle, or literally went silent for several minutes (after originally being so effusive about St. Louis) during todays game between Portland’s first and second goals.

Your commentators mispronounce names, identify players incorrectly during plays, and espouse stale Timbers info. And they just talk and talk and talk, nearly as much as NFL broadcasters. End the experiment and go back to regional commentators.

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Really awesome game. Remember when we were all doom and gloom at the start of this run? Boy oh boy how things have changed. As I've said before, the past few seasons this team has surprised us when they are at their lowest and rallied when no one thought they would (a sign of a good locker room). We crushed Seattle and then largely outplayed two of the top teams in the league away from home, beating one of them. Besides the stretch from the Ayala injury until halftime, I think we really controlled the game. Now speaking of Ayala...

I am absolutely gutted and heartbroken. He was playing so well, and I really believe in him as the future of our midfield for as long as he stays with us. I don't see playing again for the rest of the season, and that really, really sucks. Caliskan is now next man up off the bench, so we better hope Paredes stays healthy, which he isn't great at. I was very critical of Paredes in the first half but he shook off those jitters and came out flying in the second. He was awesome. He's a player that really thrives on the transition, and he's been playing much higher this season than usual. Is that by design? He was playing higher than Evander mostly. We will really need him to step up because Ayala as set a really high bar for the midfield. Chara was also fantastic. Remember when he seemed a step slow the first few games? Yeah, not anymore. What a player.

Miller and McGraw were my two men of the match, outrageously solid. I'm so much more comfortable with Miller on the left than Rasmussen. McGraw continues to be a fantastic center back, he didn't put a foot wrong this game, and only got a yellow for a completely clean (and excellent) challenge. McGraw should be getting more league wide recognition for his contributions, he's really amazing and I'm so happy that he turned out the way he did. And when Bravo comes back, it will make everything even better. We limited them to seven shots with only one on goal. Remember when we would only have a few shots a game? Well we had 15 and should've had more because sometimes our players seem to be allergic to shooting around the box.

Yimmi coming back showed his quality, he's one of the best all around players we got on the team. DP level? No. But very, very good, and he slots right into the team. He's a great player and he might fit in really well with the attack. At while not as consistently goal dangerous as we all would like, he got an awesome goal, serviced by Moreno who really came to life in the last 30 minutes. Even Niezgoda looked a bit better when he came on, though he really should've scored when Paredes set him up perfectly (what was Paredes doing not shooting there though?). Loria seemed to be the only week link, though even he started the game really well, I was really happy with him for the first 15 or so minutes, and then he went back to normal Loria things.

Boli is still adjusting to the speed of the league. When he has time you can see he has a good bit of quality, but he finds himself swarmed by players as soon as he gets the ball, and keeps trying to hold the ball up against two defenders, which usually isn't advisable. I'm not worried about him, I still think he can be good. He got into dangerous positions, just didn't make the most of them. I'll take a guy that gets into dangerous positions consistently and whiffs than a guy who rarely gets into any dangerous positions

So in the league upcoming we got a struggling Austin and a mediocre Vancouver, both at home. Two teams we are directly fighting with around the playoff line. Then RSL away who are also in that area, then Minnesota at home who have been struggling since the start of the season. Then we go to SKC, the worst team in the league. These are all games we really should win, and need to if we want our season to truly turn around. This is where our schedule finally gets easier, and if we start hitting our stride now, we could pick up some serious momentum

Yes I'm drinking a lot of hopium in that last paragraph. I will take my positives and run with them, don't try and stop me

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They looked cohesive all match for the first time in ages. There were shakey moments but they held it together.

Miller is the answer over Rasmussen all day. That shouldn’t even be a discussion moving forward.

Paredes looked great. What a shift.

But the guy who looked THE BEST coming off the bench, by a long shot, was Yimmi! I’m been very critical of him over his stint with the Timbers so far but I’ve gotta say—he looked the part last night. His first touches we some of the best I’ve seen I. The league. Over and and over, one touch passes that were cheeky, creative, and on target, several of which directly opened up opportunities to attack. What a piece to have in transition. It seems like the ability to interplay with the likes of other creative midfielders in transition is just what he needed. The way he connected with Evander and the blossoming Moreno really showed his quality compared to what we had seen of him before—an individual trying to move the ball forward in transition on his own or someone trying to finish off chances and create for themselves in the final third.if this chemistry continues to develop, it’s going to be fun to watch and dangerous for opponents defenses. They picked SLCs midfield apart in transition.

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On a side note, they are wearing the shit out of those pink atrocities of a kit. Our nice new green kits would have been very easy to tell apart from STL's bright red. At least the pink vomit kit will be gone at the end of this season.

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Stat oddity. We were the only Western Conference team to win this week! Galaxy and SKC lost to Eastern teams while all matches between West teams were draws (HOU & LAFC on bye).

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Highlight video for the man of the hour, Paredes! Dude was fantastic. I have a few thoughts that I'll just copy/paste --

A few notes on the video: I put in a replay of Paredes’ tackle inside the box. It’s a very close call imo, it’s shoulder to shoulder enough to where it’s fine with not being a pk, but man, if that’s called I don’t know if I can complain. Second, the shot by Boli at 4:56 was during the part of the stream that went out for a few seconds. That wasn’t just me, right? Anyways, since I figured a lot of people didn’t see that, I put in a replay of just that shot (which Paredes was lightly involved in). Very good shot and shows Boli’s quality. The guy can score goals, he just needs to figure the league out. If we can get him in good areas I have a good feeling about him. In fact, Paredes was instrumental in getting Boli into good spaces, he did it countless times.

At 5:30, do you guys think he should’ve passed to Evander there? I think I do, but I don’t blame him for laying it off for Moreno, though I think he needed to angle that pass back more because with how slow it was it gave Burki enough time to close down the angle to where Moreno had a slim chance of getting it past him. I don’t know, it’s hard to judge really. I also want to point out how great of a sequence we had at 6:56, all one touch to Paredes who gets taken down. If he’s not fouled there, he squares that across to Evander, who scores. What a goal that would’ve been. Now, the play at 9:11. Why isn’t he shooting there? He plays a fantastic ball to Jaro (who needs to score that, come on) don’t get me wrong, but part of me wants him to be more selfish and just hit it. He’s got a fantastic shot and he’s six yards from goal, he does so well to put the defender on ice skates, just hit it! But who am I to talk, he should’ve gotten an assist anyways and if Niezgoda puts that in, we forget all about this and it’s a great play from Paredes, which it still is.

A monster game from him, if he can keep this up then we are sitting pretty

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Highlights of Evander for this game. There’s a lot of clips here if Evander not touching the ball, I wanted to highlight as much defensive actions as I could. Whether that be covering space, tracking back, or lightly pressing. He did a lot of defensive work this game, which is probably why he got tired at minute ~80 and had a dip in quality and effort. I’m not a big fan of him playing as deep as he did when Paredes came on, but thought he did ok. There’s also clips of him making good runs that weren’t seen by teammates. The offense just didn’t quite click as well as it did in Cincinnati

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When are we going to really talk about Evander? This dude plays like he doesn't respect the league but is comfortable not playing hard cause he's collecting a paycheck. All I see from him is lackadaisical play, and poor decisions trying to be cute. He's had a few exceptional passes to the point I know he is good. I don't think this is a case of not having talent around him, he just looks lazy. We have got way more out of Mosquera and we didn't pay 10 mil to get him here.

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First, not surprised. Timbers have a lot of weapons.

MOTM Paredes. I've been saying that guy needs to start. Created at least five good chances, five more than Evander. He's freaking good. We win when that guy plays. Box to box. Was so good.

Speaking of which, not impressed with Evander. Not only does he not play defense, he's very lackadaisacal on the ball. Kind of like Williamson all over again. I said it two weeks ago: We're better with Moreno playing a 10. I think we whiffed on Evander.

Nice job Miller.

Niezgoda worked well with Paredes.

Moreno was great but he's not a wing. Been saying this for awhile.

Lastly, surprised Fogaca didn't get a run. The guy is in form. I'd start him at wing if you must start Boli, but I wasn't too impressed with him either.

Again, not surprised at the win tonight.

Hate to see Ayala get stretchered, but Paredes is miles better than him. Wake up Gio.

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It has become clear to me that I need to stop watching away games. I didn't watch the FCD game and they played pretty well and snatched a draw, and I wasn't able to watch this game and it sounds like they really put one together for a change. I'll have to go back and watch it tonight.

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Ayala - what a blow. Heal up young man! I hope the injury isn't what it appears to be.

After he went down we were a bit of a mess in midfield, back to typical Timbers strategic vision of "push forward as fast as you can, then get back on D". Whatever was adjusted at halftime was amazing because we came out and were the better team for nearly the entire 45. The difference was a much more active and smarter midfield. It was good to see Yimmi return and even though he had the game winner, he wasn't the only secret sauce. D. Chara, Parades, Moreno (especially), Evander, even Loria before he was subbed off were all so much better. More of this please!

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I'm wondering if Gio would consider using Evander as a midfielder with Chara/Paredes due to the depth issue. With the return of Y Chara and the potential return of Blanco, the Timbers could roll with Moreno at the 10 and allow Y Chara and Asprilla to play the wing positions. If I remember correctly Evandar played more the MF in his prior stop, so we wouldn't lose much if anything in the MF.

The problem I see with this move is that it forces two of the Evander/Paredes/D Chara to play 90 minutes. It does allow us to use the depth we have up front, but at this time neither Evander or Paredes appear to be able to go 90 minutes on a regular basis. That isn't a criticism, but a statement due to both of them sustaining early injuries. Any thoughts on this?

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That game felt like Chaos Ball. There was little controlled possession, balls were spraying everywhere, players looked chaotic even when they were just dribbling (Santi always does, and Mosquera often does, but last night lots of players did).... It looked to me like this is St Louis's usual style of play, and the Timbers were perfectly happy to go along with it. Guess it worked!

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Best game the team has played this season so far. It's another gut punch to lose Ayala. He has really shown a ton of improvement. I sure hope Paredes stays healthy. Concerning Evander, he is valuable and creates on the attack, but he looked tired at the end when we needed possession and not giving the ball away like he did in the later stages when holding on for the win. I hope he was just gassed and not being lazy on defense because he looked lazy defending towards the end. He didn't look urgent on trying to defend on STL's goal. Great win though. Now to keep this good play going and hoping we have reached the bottom of the barrel on acquiring injuries.

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