Portland Timbers Vs. Philadelphia Union, 2012 MLS: An Ugly First 45 Minutes

After 45 minutes at JELD-WEN Field, neither the Portland Timbers nor the Philadelphia Union could be called "good." The Timbers were better, but it looked very much like one bad team against another and not really a match deserving of the fantastic atmosphere accompanying it. In all, the scoreless draw at the break is probably fair considering both teams' struggles so far.

Portland's first chance of the match actually wasn't much of a chance thanks to Baldermo Toledo. Jorge Perlaza got past Danny Califf and the Union defender grabbed him on the shoulder, bringing Perlaza down, but the referee waved to play on. It was the wrong call, but it was the only one that mattered.

Not long after, Portland actually got a real chance and almost scored thanks to Zac MacMath. A ball found Eric Alexander on the left and he hit a pretty tame shot that MacMath should have saved easily, but when he went to tip it over, he didn't tip it hard enough and it actually bounced in the field of play. Luckily for MacMath, it went six inches wide of the post.

MacMath atoned for that mistake when he came rushing off his line to make a fine save and the Union actually did get forward upon occasion, but it was hardly an encouraging first 45 minutes for the visitors. Then again, the home side wasn't too encouraging either in this sloppy match.

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