We Are Legend

First off, I’ll just say I’m writing this on my iPod, which isn’t ideal. So no pics, and I’ll keep it brief. But The Timbers won. They beat Seattle, and there was simply no way I couldn’t talk about the game yesterday.

The tone for the day was set by the Army’s epic Clive Charles* tifo. As it rose, it snagged and tore a bit, but great work by the Timbers Army crew freed it up, and as the sun broke through, the full splendour of many hours of work was revealed.

On the pitch, the team also met similar problems. In the second half Seattle had us pinned back for long spells, threatening to spoil an outstanding start that had seen the Timbers race to a 2-0 lead, and only the most fervent of fans wouldn’t have felt queasy as time wore on.

Disaster, as it was with the tifo, was averted. Two first half goals had given the Timbers the cushion they needed to hold out during a second half that threatened to descend into chaos at times.

gif by @pyratejackKris Boyd’s opener came from a great low cross from Steven Smith, slotted home from six yards as the Seattle defence took leave of their senses. David Horst head butted the team into a two-goal lead shortly after from a corner.

The Timbers were rampant for much of the first half. Fucito buzzed around the attack, and Alhassan and Songo’o were finding joy where last week there was only woe.

Smith’s reintroduction to the team gave them an overlapping threat down the left that was so lacking against LA.

A quick word about Songo’o. I thought this was his best showing for the Timbers. He looked like he had purpose whereas previously he’s looked like he’s floated around with no clear goal in mind.

I still felt his best work came centrally – fortunately with Smith back in the team we had some width to compensate – with his behind-the-leg pass for Fucito in the second half a particular delight.

Also, I think it’s time to declare my man-crush on Diego Chara. I’m almost scared to considering my record – *cough*Perlaza*cough* – but seriously, how freaking good is this guy?

Watching the replay, I was mesmerised watching the Colombian dynamo. The guy is unflappable in possession.

The complaints about Xavi “only passing sideways” have largely died down as people have come to realise that he’s actually pretty ok at football.

So with Chara. Okay, he might not harvest tonnes of assists or send a fifty yard crossfield pass onto a sixpence, but watching him is a lesson for all kids on how to do the “simple” things well.

Three guys around him? No problem, he’ll pass through them. Snapping at his heels? He’ll lay it off and spin round you to get the pass back.

He never panics and kicks it away. He keeps his head up and finds his man, and then he’ll move and look for it right back.

He’s the beating heart of the team.

As well as a Xavi-like ability to circulate the ball so efficiently, he also has, to borrow another Barca/Spain player, the defensive instincts of a Busquets.

There was one point in the second half where he dived in to make a block, then got up and harried the play back from the edge of the Timbers box to the centre circle.

His play was a large part of why, even as Seattle pressed, the Timbers were able to hold them off.

Seattle’s attacking strategy was reduced to either shooting from distance, or falling over to generate set pieces.

Eddie Johnson, who seemed to have sharpened his elbows before kick-off, seemed to have a particularly tenuous relationship with gravity. Perhaps he suffers from Drogba’s Disease?

And Montero… He played like one of those entitled 16 year old shits who’ll scream the mansion down cos their daddy bought them a red Porsche instead of a black one. Fredy thinks the world exists to serve him and won’t take no for an answer.

When things weren’t going his way, he became ever more petulant. It’s a wonder he was able to go more than five yards without tripping over his bottom lip.

The ref has to take a portion of the blame. Time and again Montero, and a few of his cohorts, resorted to shoving and elbowing. If the ref had drawn a line earlier on and made it clear it wasn’t going to fly, perhaps some of the later unpleasantness could’ve been avoided.

Instead, Montero got away with what he wanted until Horst made sure he couldn’t wave it away. A weak performance by a ref who let himself be controlled by the match rather than the other way round.

The little shitehawk got his just desserts late on with a red card, at least.

It was a great day to be a Timber. It was a complete 180 from the LA match.

It’s still too early to declare a corner has been turned yet. I don’t like going negative after a match like that, but…

I wasn’t impressed with much of Nagbe’s work. He seemed a yard off the pace of the game at times. He seemed to get caught in possession far too often.

Similarly, at the back things aren’t perfect. Despite his goal, and providing a real threat from set plays, Horst still showed his worst side with a poor effort to win the ball in the build up to Seattle’s goal.

Teams will still generate a number of decent chances against us, but on this day Perkins came up big again.

The potential loss of Alhassan for a spell is also a blow after injury forced him out. The Ghanaian can have you pulling your hair out at times, but is always capable of a dazzling piece of trickery.

Let’s not end on negatives though. This may be the last Timbers game I catch live this season, and if so it’s a great way to go.

Legends were born yesterday.

10 thoughts on “We Are Legend

  1. “And Montero… He played like one of those entitled 16 year old shits who’ll scream the mansion down cos their daddy bought them a red Porsche instead of a black one. Fredy thinks the world exists to serve him and won’t take no for an answer.”

    Perfect description. As my gramma would have said, “That child thinks his poop don’t stink!”

  2. I couldn’t just walk away from JW; I had to stop off at the Hot Lips pizza for a slice and a pint just to enjoy the long sad faces on the Seattle supporters as they shuffled off on the start of a long ride home. Fredy was just the worst; the entire Sounders side acted shocked that they ran out on the pitch to find that Portland actually knew which way to run and could both pass and shoot. Lovely, lovely day.

    Still…there’s a strange dynamic to the Timbers this year, and it showed up in this match, again. Outside Chara, who as you pointed out hustled his ass off all match, it was like Spencer subbed out the entire XI at the half hour. The first thirty minutes the team was on fire; moving to find space off the ball, passing accurately, creating opportunities through the middle, pressing when they lost possession and then REGAINING possession.

    The Boyd goal was like nothing I’ve seen from this team this year; : Danso wins possession passes to Chara; Chara to Nagbe, Nagbe to Smith who plays it forward to Fucito. Fucito lays of to Songo’o who passes across to Nagbe who drops to Chara. Chara turns and sends it back to Songo’o who passes inside to Nagbe who sends it back out to Smith who plays it up the line to Songo’o and then runs the overlap and beats the Seattle backline where Hurtado has lost Boyd – possibly thinking he’s got him trapped offside not realizing where the ball is. Smith crosses to Boyd, goal. Sweet.

    But…after the two goals you could feel the energy flagging. It was like the whole team was thinking “Whew! Glad THAT’s over…how about a little kickabout, everyone?” Passes started going back, or sideways. People stopped running to space. Again, other than Chara and (to some extent) Futty and Smith, the pressing defense sagged back and the entire midfield dropped off. Nagbe disappeared for long stretches, and Songo’o’s work became a lot less focused.

    It’s like there’s a teensy little Barca and a little more Milwall in the same dressing room here. I know which of these two teams I want to see, and I hope that Spencer and the players do, too.

    Hope we see more Spain and less England this season!

    Onward, Rose City!

    1. I knew there was no way we could maintain the energy levels we started with – I actually told my wife just before the break that I was praying for the whistle – but there was a drop off. It may be a fitness thing, it may be a mental thing, it may be that Seattle actually woke up – or all three. Despite that, we still had chances to kill it off.

      There were, finally, signs of really attacking intent and focus. The move for the goal, as you said, was a prime example. The ball was being moved with intelligence and purpose for much of the first half, rather than “passing the buck”, as it’s often seemed the rest of the year. That’s certainly something we can build on.

      There’s still problems to be addressed and worked on. It’s important we don’t lose sight of that in the euphoria of the win.

      But hey, let’s enjoy it too. It’s a good day to be Timbers fan, and there’s been precious few of those this season as it is!

      1. I think what was really encouraging was 1) to see that lovely work actually happening – I honestly was beginning to wonder if we had been playing the way we had been because this group of players really wasn’t capable of better – and it showed that we are, and 2) that Spencer either let them, or encouraged them, to play that way, when I was beginning to wonder if the ugliness was his choice.

        So, yes, a very good place to start.

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