Portland Timbers

Assistant-Ref Blows… Full-time 1-1…

I’ll not often disparage Professional Referee’s in my analysis but in this past weekend’s game I think it is worthy to comment that if not for a highly inappropriate call by the Assistant Referee this game ends 2-1 in favor of Portland.

In a season where every bloody point counts, getting the right calls at the right time for simply determining if a player is in an off-side position isn’t that hard.

Even in youth football, in England, when I coached, each team would offer up an assistant coach to run the lines… there was no bandying about, no fussing, EVERYONE, and I mean everyone clearly knew when a player was off-side and when they weren’t; it really isn’t that hard!

And yeh, I get it – it’s spilt milk but I’ll be redundant in saying this again – “there will be a point sometime in the future where the lack of good judgment, by Referees in MLS, will impede the success of this league in moving from “Good to Great”.

And when you consider how many times the Timbers were actually off-side in this game (eight other times!!!) you would’ve thought practice would make perfect in calling off-side at a critical point in the game… it didn’t!

Is it time for video review on off-side calls that are potential game changers?

MLS took the lead in using ‘shaving cream’ to mark out ten yards and the free kick location – why not take the lead in using video replay on controversial off-side calls?

As the influx of money continues – the pressure should mount to introduce video replay on ‘game changing conditions’… or heaven forbid they give the Head Coach a ‘red-flag’ to challenge a controversial call.

If they can stop a game for a water break on a hot day – surely they can stop a game (at least one chance per Head Coach) to help Referee’s get a bloody call right… besides – it’ll make sponsors happy as it opens up the opportunity for a commercial break in the middle of a game…

Enuf said on that issue… what about the game?

What a superb run by Liam Ridgewell; a center-back penetrating like that is in the Porter game plan; it’s just not used a whole lot.  So when Liam made that run it shouldn’t have been surprising… what was surprising was how easy it was for him to dribble penetrate and score…

Good for you Liam!

With respect to some match analysis – if you read my pre-match report going in…  (here) you’ll know that these two teams were pretty much diametrically (directly) opposed to each other in how they needed to play in order to win the game…

New England plays high risk – high reward; while Portland plays with patience in their possession with purpose – this doesn’t mean slow – it means patience in moving from open space to open space.

The advantage for Portland is they have plenty of players who can usually find that open space pretty quickly – when they don’t things can go pear-shaped… we saw that in the first half.

In the second half things changed – for the better…

In the post-match interview (here) Caleb takes the hit for the team in his players not being prepared… fair dues I guess but responsibilities rest equally with the players in my view – what is good here is that they got at least one point…

In Closing…

Darlington Nagbe again confirmed how much value he brings to this team even when he doesn’t touch the ball… the chemistry and team play changed (for the better) {considerably} when he entered the game…

The off-side calls… the team statistic that stands out to me… a great example on how a team can beat itself.

You know, or should know, FC Dallas are doing a great job winning a number of games this year – what gets in their way is them beating themselves as well.

Red Cards and Fouls within their own Defending Final Third (read here) are what get in their way; the same can be said for Portland, fouls in the defending final third (especially those leading to PK’s) and off-side calls.

If the Timbers want a better chance at getting three points they need to be better in those two areas…

Lucky for the Timbers this is a correctable mistake that doesn’t take up a lot of on-field training time

It’s more about a right-bollocking by the gaffer and observing your opponent and adjusting your timing to their off-side trap…

Something like that should be sorted out by the forwards in the first fifteen minutes if the game video studied (in the training week build-up) doesn’t match the initial defensive scheme executed by the opponent.

Best, Chris

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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.