scape(goats) it is…

Posted on: April 13th, 2014 by sunshine 4 Comments

 

 

a picture says a thousand words...and this says them all.

a picture says a thousand words...and this says them all.

It seems that we have been here before—not losing, but not winning. The concessions of late equalizers should now be as expected for Portlanders as the two weeks of heat in late July and early August or the countless days of rain every other week of the year. But, as certain as can be that it will happen, that certainty does little to ease our frustration when that late leveler does happen.

 

 

So, we ask again and again: Why? How? And why and how some more. And the answers are as easy and as difficult as you care to make them. But, ultimately, they fit into the play on the field, which has not changed in the first six games of the season. The urgency and pace of the last season have been supplanted by complacency and, perhaps, an expectation that the tactics will get the team through the rough patches. Unfortunately, for the tactics to work the pieces need to fit and the players need to perform. Clearly they do not fit and they have not performed.

 

No better example of this in last night’s game is the fat Will Johnson and Diego Chara spent the majority their time behind the half-line rather than ahead of it. What does this mean? Well, it means that pressing play we saw in the first 60 minutes of last weekend’s game was absent for 70 minutes yesterday. After the Johnson scored the goal in the 8 minute it seemed the Timbers were content to sit back and let play come to them. Given the limited abilities of the backline to man-mark and play a tight defensive line, this was a recipe for disaster. And it was once again that failure to press a team into their own half that led to Goats eventual leveler.

 

 

To their credit, Chivas did a good job keeping the fight in the center of the pitch. Indeed, especially in the second half, they controlled possession and kept the play pushing into the Timbers half of the pitch. This would have been fine if the Timbers were a team built to withstand a continued offensive attack. They are not. They are a team that lives and breathes through sharp, precise passing from every player on the pitch. And when one player breaks down the team is able to fight back by keeping pressure on the ball, typically winning the ball back with the first 20 seconds. But when every player, from the backline forward, turns the ball over regularly, the system implodes, making the team’s work impossible to compete. And that was the story and curse of last night.

 

 

Here are the numbers that prove it:

 

 

8, 29, 22, 23, 39, 24, 25, 29, 14, 14, 14, 20

 

 

I will give you a minute or 90 to consider that these represent the complete and utter breakdown of possession based football. Each one of those numbers is associated with number of turnovers committed by each of the 12 players who graced the pitch for the Timbers last night.

 

 

Obviously, for the first ten minutes of play they looked sharp. But then their play devolved into a complacent and pedestrian game of what to do next. Given the early and excellent interplay between Urruti, Nagbe, and Johnson for the first goal, you could be forgiven the belief that the Timbers were going to eat up the Goats. The problem is the Timbers believed that too.     

 

 

 

What resulted was 72 minutes of mind-numbing anticipation of Erick Torres’s eventual equalizer. As expected, the undoing all the hard work the Timbers put into holding the 1 nil lead came down to the usual communication breakdowns and poor marking absent in the play of teams who consistently challenge at the end of the season. While Powell was beaten for the umpteenth time on the right flank and was at fault for Leandro Barrera’s excellent cross, the breakdown came from the usual suspect—Kah. Rather than marking center forward, Erick Torres, as one would expect a central defender to do when the threat of a cross is eminent, he turned his attention away from the actual threat and to his little buddies, Powell and Futty. I cannot fault anyone who has their friends’ backs, but this was not a rumble or a fist fight, this was a football match and every player has a responsibility—shoe tying is not one of them. He was caught ball watching and Harrington was caught watching the man. Though Torres was not his responsibility, communication is and was then. Given Kah did nothing in the build up to the goal but watch the play develop, it would seem Harrington failed to inform him that he needed to pull back and mark Torres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Such is the season so far.     

 

4 Responses

  1. Honey Boo Boo goes to Hippo Hardware

    April 13, 2014

    Just so very disappointed. I think it’s a lost plot. The responsibility is from the top down. From the owner, to the GM, to the coaches and the players. I hate to say this, because I love the club and want them to win like any supporter, but it’s looking like a long and depressing season ahead. The problems appear too vast, really can’t put it on one or two guys. The team doesn’t have the passion and heart it did last year, for whatever reason. They have no chemistry and the quality appears lacking in places. Maybe it will turn around, but nothing about their form so far bodes well. I don’t know what happened, as we can only speculate on what’s going on internally (although we can make some educated assumptions and ask questions). That all said, I’m just very disappointed.

    Reply
    • sunshine

      April 13, 2014

      The purpose of the off-season is to improve the side. Instead, we got older, not better.

      Reply
  2. Timberproud24

    April 13, 2014

    Words can not describe the anger of seeing our team become yet again one of the worst in Mls. Now I have been saying that we need some DP’S for some time but what we really need is a clinical finisher with height to help control set pieces and the ability to fight and push defenders around, rather than going down like Urruti does a lot of the time, also a forward who can play more direct when our midfield can’t get anything going, and just like Taylor twelman said ” I question urrutis ability to make the right runs”. We also need a rb with pace but also experience. Now I don’t think Powell did as bad as most think, but at time I thought he would be a better midfielder. He has ability and pace but like yedlin, lacks the 1v1 defending ability. With jack getting older and getting burnt because he just does not have the pace he used too, it shows we are in desperate need of a true rb. It seemed like most of the time kah and footy were more focused on helping Powell out on d because of his inexperience. It took focus off of them playing there positions and worrying about Torres. U could tell they knew they had to help the young man out, but it is not powells fault he just does not have the experience yet, so let’s not blame footy and kah cause they honestly played ten times better than papa and either of the other two together, and I think they have just as much if not more footwork than papa so I question even signing him when he is souly at fault for two loses this year. Let’s see. we had a back four that had clean sheets at the end of year game after game against the best teams in Mls and somehow that means we sign someone else. That’s a FO f-up. So at the end of the day from what I see we are close to being a power house team but need a true clinical dp striker like johannsson or altidor or better and a true rb so the cb’s don’t have to worry about the right side so much.

    Reply
    • sunshine

      April 13, 2014

      No, we had a goalkeeper who made that back four look great. The same personnel have played in and out of games this year and have shown exactly how bad they were. But before I beat the drum for better talent until my hands bleed, I must also point out the fact this is a training issue as much as it is a talent issue. We have had the same defensive coach nearing on four years and three of those four are shaping up to show just how poor of a coach he is.

      Reply

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