"It's coming. I can feel it."
This is what I said to our Timbers director of soccer operations, Spencer Childs, on the sideline in the 70th minute as the Timbers were controlling the match and firing shot after shot after shot. A goal was coming. We could feel it.
This was one of those games that, from a photography standpoint, I really look forward to. It is not often that we play in the late afternoon where the field is full of great light everywhere you look. The team was also looking to extend its seven-game unbeaten streak.
At the start of the game, I wanted to capture as many "stock" photos of the players in the nice light as I could.
I moved up to the south deck to get a little higher angle to clean up the backgrounds and shot as many photos in the beautiful light as possible.
The first half's play was fairly uneventful. The Timbers had a couple of nice shots on frame but couldn't get the ball in the back of the net and the half ended in a 0-0 draw.
At halftime I made my way to the north end of the field and shot images of the tifo's and banners showing support for the Thorns and the NWSL players.
As the second half began I wanted to continue shooting the nice light so I moved over next to the team bench.
From the 60th minute on, the Timbers were dominating. From the 63rd minute to the 79th minute, the Timbers took seven shots. They were knocking on the door. I could feel it. In the 82nd minute Jaroslaw Niezgoda was subbed on for Dairon Asprilla. I turned to Spencer and I said to him "here it comes, Jaro is going to score." Videographer Austin Webb said he felt it too and we both hoped that when he did score, that he would do it in the now quickly fading light in front of the goal. Not one minute later the Timbers won a corner kick. "This is it, Jaro scores here," I said.
I was so confident that he would score I focused my camera on him as Sebastián Blanco kicked the ball into the box, directly to Niezgoda's head and into the back of the net. He celebrated in the last bit of good light.
The goal and a shutout by Steve Clark was all the Timbers would need to extend the unbeaten streak to eight games. It was Niezgoda's second of the season, on his second shot of the season, in only 29 minutes of play. He now has scored a goal every 70.22 minutes in his Timbers career.
Jaroslaw Niezgoda and the Timbers are both feeling it right now.