Portland Timbers Sports

Last minute madness on Mother’s Day…

At a loss… not quite but pretty bloody close.

In considering the complete game many may walk away from this game feeling very disappointed; not me – and here’s why…

As noted before, the LA Galaxy remain one of the most dangerous, productive and well organized teams in MLS – year in and year out.  And their Head Coach, Arena, is locked in on ways to win in this league.

For the Timbers to come away with a point in this game is huge, tremendous, and significant.  And if not for a complete lack of communication and a british school boy error in defending that throw-in it might’ve been three points…. oh my.

How can a game can turn on 1 second of poor judgment?

Should consolation be offered given that mistake occured in the 92nd minute – probably not; the CB’s for Portland are rarely subbed for reasons of fatigue and both are expected to be engaged, mentally, from second one to the last second.

What may have been missing there was pre-game defensive analysis (and defensive coaching) about the opponent – I seem to recall an earlier throw-in by LA this game that almost got them a goal as well… fool me once shame on you – fool me twice shame on me…

And if the defensive coach had offered up that pre-match and half time analysis on throw-ins then the mistake rests with the player or player(s) alone… will there be video analysis of that mistake – likely not – no reason – everyone who knows anything about football knows when a high ball comes into the box you do one of two things – clear it out or watch the goalkeeper catch it – neither happened…

This mistake – and it was a BIG mistake reminds me of what I spoke with Preki about in an interview a few weeks ago – His views, to paraphrase were — what is most important in a player first is having the right mentality – being tuned in, aware and the simple drive to win.

Ball watching in that instance, in this game, was the wrong mentality and nothing from a coach usually fixes that.  What’s usually needed is ‘remove and replace’… brutal but real… and repeated mistakes in the mental part of the game usually signal why a player contiuously moves from one team to another…

But back to the game and the ending… unbelievable that Valeri got that late equalizer – simply stunning and over the course of this season this game could be pivotal for two reasons…

The first and most positive is that the Timbers turned nil-pwa into 1 point.. they did that with a huge unbeaten run in the middle of the season last year and maybe – just maybe – this is the continuation of a huge/long unbeaten run this year?

The second and most negative is that one mistake like that (made by the CB’s &/or GK — Toshack and Knowles really know the answer to that not me) could really rock the confidence of the team.

For me I think the answer is the first and most positive – any other thought is negative and unproductive and a shirking of responsibility.

If in football, most know that the difference between winning, losing and drawing in this game really does come down to good seconds of time and bad seconds of time… the Timbers have had more ‘bad seconds of time’ this year than ‘good’… managing those seconds within the context of 90+ minutes has never been easy.

In Closing:

Valeri saved Portland with that last minute equalizer; time passes and the games don’t get any easier. Columbus comes to town and Vancouver just beat them in Columbus – the Crew will be on edge as they’ve seen an early season good start begin to fade slightly…

The plot thickens as the heat of summer will begin to take shape; plenty of surprises are in store if this past week is an indicator of that – the Sounders got thrashed (absolutely thrashed) the Chicago Fire went into New Jersey and stuffed the Red Bulls while Chivas offered up another great upset in Colorado…

Best, Chris

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 PossessionwithPurpose.com, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.