Bottom line up front = Cup game sorted and now on to business.
As noted in a tweet earlier today, and with an added edit by @ChiltonR (replace Cup with Trophy), here’ s my telling the tale for the Timbers…
Timbers tantalize Timbers Army & tally two v Tampa in Trophy test as Dallas dump Dynamo & SportingKC spill and splash out of the Cup… Daniel Stroud went on to offer this additional one that I like as well… Concurrently, Carolina chased Chivas clear of the Cup…
That said most by now have read this report from Portland Timbers discussing the match; if you haven’t suggest you click on it and review it along with the interview following the game.
Given that and the quick turn with Dallas coming to town on Saturday I am only going to offer up a few match thoughts that may have relevance to the squad as they continue their run in MLS regular season games.
1. Man of the Match: Michael Nanchoff – Great to see this lad finally get a start in a game that has real meaning; I have liked his vision, pitch awareness, overall skills and his wicked left peg since Tucson – so much so that it irritated Caleb a wee bit during an interview. Since then I have yet to ask Caleb anymore questions about Michael – I just watch and enjoy!
As to last night – you should know by now he hit a wicked left peg half volley to the far post for the first goal and offered up a luvly left pegged free kick to Piq that was headed onward to JJ for goal number 2. And even though this game appeared considerably odd at times his individual skills rose to the top.
If he doesn’t get more minutes in MLS games this year I will be surprised and in my view he moved way up the pecking order in late game options under any circumstances.
2. General impression of the game: Disjointed – A new mixture of players starting the second Cup Match and another challenge for the team in working to develop a chemistry on the pitch given the really short preparation time.
Yes, Portland move on but a ten day rest has now evaporated down to a grueling three day turnaround after hosting Colorado on the 23rd of June. Perhaps that friendly against Morelia on the 3rd of July sees many more reserves than the Cup match against FC Dallas on the 26th?
Plenty of missed opportunities this game and just a whole lot of wasted long balls from the back-four to the forwards; Tampa looked slow of foot at times and it just seemed like many of the Timbers players were taking one touch too many and leaving passes too short or too long.
But when it came down to it the defensive side of the team worked well in closing down a lesser talented squad that somehow had beaten Seattle.
All too often, though, it appeared to me that the back-four were not working well in playing the offside trap and fortunately some missed off-side calls by the near side assistant referee didn’t impact the game.
Kocic did appear to be more engaged than the game against Chicago and more time on the pitch will certainly help him get that wicked edge a keeper needs to keep his back-four in line.
Thankfully Ryan Miller didn’t have a serious injury resulting from that pathetic tackle by Hristov – surprised the Yellow even came out on that one – should have been a straight red not a combined two – yellow red card.
Kalif continues to be an enigma rapped in a quandary that befuddles and bedazzles the dazzling fuddles of enigmatic quandaries… I don’t get it… the touches last night at times were breathtaking but the vision to work with those touches in supporting his teammates to greater success lacked… Like Nanchoff this was a chance for Kalif to showcase in case he showed… in my view he didn’t show…
Next Up Match Preview Portland Timbers v FC Dallas and as a reminder here’s the impact on what Hassli brought to Dallas in their final 45 minutes… do we see Hassli this Saturday?