Stoppage time losses are never fun, especially when you spend the fifteen minutes prior convincing yourself that a tie in Portland is a fantastic result. Ugh. Instead this result serves as a stern reminder that this United side still needs work. The Timbers have mildly underachieved so far season but it remains true that only the best sides can go into Providence Park and snag all three points. United aren't there yet. Starting Conor Doyle and Chris Korb, as well as Luis Silva's return, provide crucial decisions for Ben Olsen going foreword. The foundation for this season is there, it just needs some tinkering. Here are the player ratings.
Bill Hamid: 4
Hamid's downsides were on full display Saturday night. Gaston Fernandez's early finish came courtesy of a sublime bit of skill but also some inexperience from Hamid. If Hamid wants to come out to meet Fernandez he has to take the ball, instead he opened himself up to be exploited and left Fernandez with a semi-open goal. In the second half, Hamid nearly took Darlington Nagbe out for a penalty, and then showed suspect positioning on Maximiliano Urruti's game-winner. Hamid by and large has had a solid season -- one game doesn't change thatn --but at 23 years old he needs to look to start cutting out the kind of mistakes that were easily excused when he was younger.
Chris Korb: 4.5
A first start back from injury will generally have some rustiness but Korb's marking on the opening goal was inexcusable. To be caught up field in the first minute of the game is a cardinal sin for a fullback. Korb had a decent game, after but came up short at times in the final third. Korb may have a chance to supplant Cristian on the opposite flank, but if he wants to replace Franklin he needs to be better on defense.
Two mistakes leading to goals will never amount to an impressive rating for a center back, and so it proved today. Boswell was caught in no man's land on Fernandez's opener and was guilty of weak marking on Danso's goal. The silver lining is that neither of the mistakes were speed related, which remains a concern for the back line.
Jeff Parke: 3.5
Brutal game from Parke. Skinned on the first goal and fell asleep on the game-winner. Yikes, better get back on the horse for next week. That being said, both Boswell and Parke have been excellent recently so they deserve some leeway.
Cristian Fernandez: 4.5
The crossing was good again but Cristian's giveaway and subsequent "defense" on the first goal was hard to watch. The truth of the matter is Cristian remains too inconsistent to be relied upon regularly. At least with Franklin you know what you're getting on the offensive end, and can expect passable defense. I would try Korb against the Union next week, he might not cross as well, but at least the defense should be tidy.
One of the main components to beating the Timbers, along with exploiting the back line, is keeping Nagbe and Diego Valeiri from running riot in the midfield. Kitchen's failure to keep his former Akron compatriot in check impacted the game, especially in the second half when it became clear that United was playing for the tie. That was a shame not only for the scoreline, but also because Kitchen showed some excellent drive out of midfield in spurts. More direct play not only with passing, but also dribbling is Perry's next step as a player in my eyes. At least he showed some of his potential to do that Saturday night.
Davy Arnaud: 6.5
One of the few times you'll see Arnaud ranked higher than Kitchen. The goal helped, deflection and all, but Arnaud also had a cleaner passing night than his midfield partner, breaking up play and feeding the ball into Espindola and Doyle. Arnaud has become important to this side not just for his veteran moxie, but also for his workmanlike running, something not provided by any of the other center midfielders.
Chris Rolfe: 6
Another bright game from Rolfe. Retained the ball well on the night where it was hard to do so, and showed his versatility when he moved up to striker.
Nick DeLeon: 5.5
Very frustrating game for DeLeon. He was forced to do a lot of defensive work and could never really find the final pass in the attacking third. At times it seems as though DeLeon has a determination missing from his game. He has the tools to be one of the league's best wingers, but not the grit to actually secure that position. There's been improvement in a few games this year, but performances like this to remind you there's still that bit missing.
Conor Doyle: 5
After weeks of clamor, Doyle's first start of the year was a little underwhelming. He spent most of the match out wide, playing simple passes to DeLeon or back to the center midfielders. I suppose we should have seen this coming, Doyle isn't the type of player to grab a game by the scruff of it's neck, more the type to keep the ball moving. He remains a quality player for late in matches, either to protect a lead or search for a goal, but not one to lead the line for 90 minutes.
Never really got going. This was the type of match where Espindola came back into the midfield, picked up the ball, and held it for five seconds while being hounded before releasing a simple pass. That's not necessarily Espindola's fault, it just means the offense never got going in earnest.
Lewis Neal: 5
Lewis played in this game for approximately 23 minutes, and attempted 4 passes.
Luis Silva: 6.5
Silva did well in his cameo. He looked motivated to make things happen, and showcased his often superior technical ability. Silva has undeniable quality, but he might have to settle for games like this until Olsen decides what he wants to do with the midfield.
Alex Caskey: 5
Had a cool slide tackle, not much else.