The “awe” factor is gone – LA exposed as normal team as Timbers take three in torrid rain!

It wasn’t pretty, but games like this (wind and rain) plus the tightness that comes with a playoff chase, usually make for hard, crusty, good old-fashioned football.

And while I won’t dig into stats I’ll just offer this rhetorical question for your consideration…

Throughout the early and middle parts of this season the Galaxy have never really been on the leading edge of possession with purpose – they’ve labored around 5th to 8th for the better part of the year and after watching them today I really wonder how much credit is worthy for this team?

All told they looked normal to me; even less normal than Colorado the other night and certainly even less normal than Real Salt Lake.

Some might offer that weather conditions impacted this game; well they did – but they did for both teams! ¬†And yes, the Galaxy could have scored a goal or two given a couple of miscues but they didn’t; they didn’t finish and to be honest they were almost too predictable.

For much of the game it was point and click to Zardes (get a new bloody haircut buddy!) who would try to penetrate down the left to open up space for Keane and Donovan… oddly enough the greatest danger LA created came from minute 71′ to minute 75′ and that was all down the right side…

To sum up that tactic by Arena it’s almost as bad as only moving your King side pawns for the first eight moves of the game…

Bottom line…

  • Matches like these usually come down to set-pieces and that luvly toe-flick by Urutti was all Portland needed.
  • Keane had a chance but he was CLEARLY offside – certainly a yellow card was worthy for the dissent he showed but like most referees Elfath probably blew it off as Keane just being Keane… a winge-bag!
  • Score-lines like 1-nil might be the norm from here on out – tense play and not yielding the one sided counterattack should be the norm.
  • While Futty looked a bit out of sorts a few times today he made two superb defensive plays in the 69th and 93rd minute.
  • The first was more about being properly positioned to intercept a through-ball (veteran know-how) and the second was more about remaining cool when others might panic.
  • I’m no longer trying to wrap my head around Kalif coming on for Diego Valeri; it’s not a like for a like based upon talent but it is with respect to forward pressure of a different type that fits with a striker (Ryan Johnson) who probably works better from bold crosses as opposed to the nuance and deception that Valeri provides for Urutti.
  • All told it’s about balance…
  • And no – I won’t be visiting my statistics until after the regular season ends; I mentioned this last week and it was good to hear Robbie Earle reinforce my thoughts – now is not the time for statistics; it’s all about habit and training and ‘getting stuck in’…
  • Set-pieces win games; one did tonight and it is likely to happen again… who’da thought LA would be worse in defending set-pieces than Portland will all those troubles this year?

Next up Portland travels to Vancouver and faces set-piece specialist Sanvezzo; I’ll do my best to offer up some thoughts on that one (before and after) but forgive me if I don’t; the missus and I are taking a belated 25th Wedding Anniversary to Hawaii starting next week.



Chris Gluck

Chris Gluck

I have been covering the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer, as a community blogger/analyst for the Columbian Newspaper, since June, 2012. Since then my involvement in soccer analysis has expanded to include participating in the Regional Emmy Award Winning Soccer City PDX TV Show (Comcast Sports Northwest). My unique analytical approach has been published in Europe and presented at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. I also appear regularly as a co-host on Rose City Soccer Show and the Yellowcarded Podcast. You can find my work on, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.

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