Darlington Nagbe

Timbers mess with Texas, 2-1

Johnson, Nagbe score in playoff-caliber home win over FC Dallas
Aug. 17, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Jregonsports Journal

The MLS Playoffs may still be two months away, but in the tightly-packed Western Conference the atmosphere is playoff-level from now on, and the Portland Timbers played up to that level Saturday night at Jeld-Wen Field.

The result, in a very physical outing, was a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas, one that moved the Timbers into third place with 38 points, just three points behind Real Salt Lake, which lost to the LA Galaxy Saturday. Between the teams are the Colorado Rapids, who are at 39 points.

Portland improved to 9-3-11, 38 points with a home match against RSL Wednesday.

Dallas, which led the Western Conference through midseason, dropped to 8-7-9, 33 points, having not won a game since May 25.

Both Portland goals were assisted by Diego Valeri.

Johnson scored his team-leading eighth goal off a corner from Valeri in the 27th minute, but Dallas countered just a minute later to tie the score. Nagbe then put away his seventh goal of the year off a stellar pass from Valeri that he blasted past Dallas keeper Raul Fernandez for the game's final score.

 

Timbers head for key point to early season

It's only Game 5, but a visit from Chivas USA is a must-win
April 5, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

There are no such thing as must-win games five games into a 32-game season. However, a Portland Timbers victory versus Chivas USA on Saturday night at Jeld-Wen Field would right a ship that appears shaky after two straight defeats.

In all four games this season, the Timbers have conceded the first goal and failed to score in the first half. The team has also given up at least one goal in every match its played this season.

To turn things around against the Goats, Portland will need to pester a surprisingly tough Chivas defense, which has allowed just three goals in its four matches. Darlington Nagbe, who received votes for both MLS player of the week and player of the month, has been a star when playing in the center of the field and could be the catalyst that breaks Chivas hot defensive start.

Chivas USA is led by goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who is tied for the league lead in saves with 16. Other key players for Chivas USA are former Sounder James Riley and rookie forward Casey Townsend, who has scored the lone goal this season for the club.

Former league MVP Juan Pablo Angel is listed as doubtful with concussion symptoms and has been held out of previous matches in Portland due to his dislike of turf fields.

Despite a poor scoring rate for Chivas to start the season, the Timbers will need to solidify a backline that has appeared shaky at times this season. Whether it is due to skill or lack of communication, Portland has given up quite a few preventable goals in 2012.

Andrew Jean-Baptiste has stepped in gamely as the second centerback, however none of the four starting defenders have been without faults to start the season.

The Timbers will look to repeat some of their defensive results from last season that saw goalkeeper Troy Perkins earn a MLS-career high nine shutouts.

The Timbers starting lineup will likely depend on the health and game fitness of Franck Songo’o and Kalif Alhassan. If either is ready to start on Saturday, it is likely that Nagbe will start at striker. If not, look for Nagbe to start the game on the wing and maybe switch with center midfielder Diego Chara during the course of the game.

In addition to players that were injured prior to last week’s loss to Real Salt Lake, the Timbers will likely be without usual substitute James Marcelin, who has a hamstring strain.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 on Saturday.

Check out OregonSports.com and NoPityCity.blogspot.com for coverage of the match. For in-game coverage, head to twitter.com/TheMikeDonovan

For Timbers, the time is now for Nagbe

Sat, 03/17/2012 - 7:39pm
Mike Donovan
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Going into halftime Saturday in Frisco, Texas, the Portland Timbers were behind 1-0 on the scoreboard and Darlington Nagbe was not on the pitch for the second consecutive first half.

Five minutes into the second half, Nagbe was in and the Timbers were no longer losing.

A Nagbe goal four minutes into the second half earned the Timbers a 1-1 draw in their first away match of the season.  Unlike the Timbers home opener on Monday at Jeld-Wen, Nagbe entered the game as a striker and not a midfielder.

While his goal was only set up after a disastrous screw-up by FC Dallas midfielder Daniel Hernandez, his finishing ability and presence of mind to turn and fire on net had zero to do with an opponent’s mistakes.

According to head coach John Spencer last season following the New England home game, Nagbe prefers to play up top paired with another striker. With newly acquired striker Kris Boyd a ready-and-willing presence in the box, Nagbe might have found his perfect match.

It was not just the goal that earned Nagbe the right to start at striker for the Timbers in upcoming matches. It was his touch and passing ability. His first touch is clearly far above any other potential starting forward on the club, while his ability to pass in tight spaces is a notch above Jorge Perlaza.

Nagbe’s ascent to striker would also clear up Perlaza to be used as a speedy, change-of-pace forward in the final 20 or so minutes of a match. Perlaza would have a game changing ability going against defenders that had been on the pitch for the entire game.

Another plus of Nagbe starting as a striker is how it clears up the jumbled outside midfielder position. Assuming Franck Songo’o eventually starts, the Timbers will have two defined starters (Kalif Alhassan and Songo’o) and two defined backups (Sal Zizzo and Eric Alexander) on the wings.  

While Nagbe does not have the height of most starting MLS forwards, his excellent jumping ability and sheer soccer IQ make up for his lack of inches. Nagbe displayed his ability to beat much taller defenders in last year’s 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthwaukes at Jeld-Wen.

Using his brain and leverage, the 21-year-old beat 6-foot-5 defender Bobby Burling to a ball and then slotted in a cross to Cooper, who found the back of the net. Plays like that demonstrate Nagbe’s ability to play against much taller central defenders.  

Sometimes in sports, players lose their spot not due to their inability, but simply because another player gives his team a better chance to win. And that is exactly what is happening to Jorge Perlaza. His demotion paired with Nagbe’s promotion would simply make the Timbers better.

Mike Donovan is the Portland Timbers beat reporter for OregonSports.com and he tweets at twitter.com/TheMikeDonovan. Donovan, along with OregonSports.com published Cliff Pfenning, host the weekly web series, No Pity City, every Tuesday night at 8: 30 Pacific time.

For Timbers, the time is now for Nagbe

Portland's offense gets a lift when Darlington's on the field
March 17, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

Going into halftime Saturday in Frisco, Texas, the Portland Timbers were behind 1-0 on the scoreboard and Darlington Nagbe was not on the pitch for the second consecutive first half.

Five minutes into the second half, Nagbe was in and the Timbers were no longer losing.

A Nagbe goal four minutes into the second half earned the Timbers a 1-1 draw in their first away match of the season.  Unlike the Timbers home opener on Monday at Jeld-Wen, Nagbe entered the game as a striker and not a midfielder.

While his goal was only set up after a disastrous screw-up by FC Dallas midfielder Daniel Hernandez, his finishing ability and presence of mind to turn and fire on net had zero to do with an opponent’s mistakes.

According to head coach John Spencer last season following the New England home game, Nagbe prefers to play up top paired with another striker. With newly acquired striker Kris Boyd a ready-and-willing presence in the box, Nagbe might have found his perfect match.

It was not just the goal that earned Nagbe the right to start at striker for the Timbers in upcoming matches. It was his touch and passing ability. His first touch is clearly far above any other potential starting forward on the club, while his ability to pass in tight spaces is a notch above Jorge Perlaza.

Nagbe’s ascent to striker would also clear up Perlaza to be used as a speedy, change-of-pace forward in the final 20 or so minutes of a match. Perlaza would have a game changing ability going against defenders that had been on the pitch for the entire game.

Another plus of Nagbe starting as a striker is how it clears up the jumbled outside midfielder position. Assuming Franck Songo’o eventually starts, the Timbers will have two defined starters (Kalif Alhassan and Songo’o) and two defined backups (Sal Zizzo and Eric Alexander) on the wings.  

While Nagbe does not have the height of most starting MLS forwards, his excellent jumping ability and sheer soccer IQ make up for his lack of inches. Nagbe displayed his ability to beat much taller defenders in last year’s 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthwaukes at Jeld-Wen.

Using his brain and leverage, the 21-year-old beat 6-foot-5 defender Bobby Burling to a ball and then slotted in a cross to Cooper, who found the back of the net. Plays like that demonstrate Nagbe’s ability to play against much taller central defenders.  

Sometimes in sports, players lose their spot not due to their inability, but simply because another player gives his team a better chance to win. And that is exactly what is happening to Jorge Perlaza. His demotion paired with Nagbe’s promotion would simply make the Timbers better.

Mike Donovan is the Portland Timbers beat reporter for OregonSports.com and he tweets at twitter.com/TheMikeDonovan. Donovan, along with OregonSports.com published Cliff Pfenning, host the weekly web series, No Pity City, every Tuesday night at 8: 30 Pacific time.

Timbers respond again, score in Dallas

Nagbe's goal give Portland a 1-all tie and point on the road
March 17, 2012

Portland took another step toward its goal of reaching the MLS Playoffs by rallying for 1-all tie at FC Dallas Saturday.

Darlington Nagbe scored in the 51st minute after a bad pass by the Dallas defense to knot the score after the Timbers had given up a goal in the first half.

Nagbe's goal brought Portland back from a goal down for the second straight week. The Timbers trailed Philadelphia in their opener before scoring 3 goals in the second half for a 3-1 win.

The Timbers and Dallas both left the field at 1-0-1, 4 points.

Portland plays at New England, which lost 3-0 to Sporting KC earlier in the day, on Saturday.

Dallas carried the action to the Timbers until finally scoring in the 22nd minute, when a cross from Carlos Rodriguez found Bryan Levya on the right side of the Timbers box. Leyva, making the first appearance of his MLS career, put in a hard shot on Timbers 'keeper Troy Perkins that was brushed away only to find a wide-open Blas Perez waiting to put in the rebound for his first career score.


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Portland picked up its play directly after the goal and had a free kick by captain Jack Jewsbury in the 36th minute hit the post off a header from Lovel Palmer.

Kris Boyd had a hard, point black shot hit the post as well.

Dallas led the game stats in corner kicks with seven, while Portland managed just three, all in the final 20 minutes.

The game featured only one offsides call.

 

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