Making the most of his starting opportunity, midfielder Alex Nimo put on an exciting show for the fans at PGE Park tonight. Nimo finished the match with 1 goal and 1 assist. An up-and-coming MLS prospect on loan from Real Salt Lake, Caoch Wilkinson gave Nimo the start in hopes that his youthful engery would help give the team an offensive spark – the gamble paid off. Early in the 1st half, Nimo lofted a beautiful volley into the air leading to a Keita header and later would slip behind the defense to find the back of the net himself. Another impressive showing of this team’s incredible depth and versatility, as they score 3 goals on the league’s best defense. The Timber’s unbeaten streak now stands at an amazing 20 matches.
It must be noted that Charleston’s starting goalie, Dusty Hudock, was unable to play, this certainly having a major factor in the outcome of the game. The Battery had only given up 10 goals going into the match and Hudock leads the league in shutouts with 12 this season. A tough act to follow for back-up goalie Keith Wiggans, not mention the Timber’s are the league’s top scoring team.
Ryan Pore played well again, scoring on a assist from Keita. There was a moment in the 2nd half, leading up to Charleston’s goal, that the Timber’s were a bit relaxed, but Pore stepped up and provided a lot of aggresion after Nimo subbed out. The Timber’s onslaught seemed inevitable, they failed to score on multiple 4 vs 1 breaks, but Pore eventually brokethrough. Pore and Keita ran well together tonight and didn’t get in each other’s way, accept when they, literally, collided into another, both players tumbling onto the pitch. But besides that.
Josten has had a couple rough games. Today, he especially had a tough go, botching more than one play with bad touches or inaccurate passes. Josten’s played solid this season, but sometimes he gets tunnel vision out there and misses open teammeates. He needs to move the ball quicker and not try to do everything himself. Nimo could of had 2 assists today if not for a mis-kicked ball on open net by Josten.
The fight in the 2nd half, resulting in a red card and an ejected Battery player, was a product of poor referee management of the match. All game the refs let the players get away with a lot rough play and hard challenges. It wasn’t surprising to see frustrations boil over into a confrontation on the pitch. But I think one thing that’s nice to see is players that are actually invested in the outcome of the match their playing. Players from both teams showed great passion and intestity. In a age of overpaid prima donna athletes, it’s great to see the type of unbridled enthusiasm and the atmosphere of pure competition that the USL can bring.
The Timbers are now in a two way tie for 1st place with the Carolina Railhawks. Charleston trails by one point and the Islanders are not too far back from there. It’s basically a four-way race for 1st place, get ready, it’s going to be quite the exciting finish.