Five quick comments on the Timbers/Impact match

The Portland Timbers failed to mount a comeback for the second straight week, falling to the Montreal Impact 2-1 last night at Jeld Wen Field in Portland.

Here’s five quick takeaways from last night’s match.

* Focusing on the positives

While I’d prefer the Timbers to actually get a lead in a match, the fact the team has shown some heart and resolve to mount comebacks these first two matches is already markedly different than what has been shown since the club’s entry into MLS. This and the fact that the team is infinitely more dangerous and entertaining to watch is helping keep me a bit grounded despite the fact the club has only garnered one point after the first two matches at home.

* Donovan Ricketts

Listen, I still don’t think Ricketts is the #upgrade the Timbers front office and coaching staff thinks he is, but I saw a lot of tweets blaming Ricketts for the loss and that’s just not the case. In a nutshell, turnovers in poor positions, some epic ball-watching and failure to track back all led to the Timbers’ demise. I’ll have to watch the replay but if I remember correctly, I thought Andrew Jean Baptiste might have been at fault on one goal and Michael Harrington and Will Johnson were both in no-man’s land on the second Impact goal. Mikael Silvestre seemed to ┬ábe caught in no-man’s land much of the night but that’s a different thing altogether. Again, Ricketts actually came up with some huge saves last night and the score might have been worse. Still, I’d love to see Milos Kocic get a shot when he’s healthy but Caleb Porter has been quite open about the fact that Ricketts is his guy.

* Diego Chara

Has Chara been the Timbers best overall player over the first two matches? Maybe. While Diego Valeri and Will Johnson have been grabbing most of the attention, Chara has been pretty spectacular. Last night, his beautiful switching cross to Zemanski led to Ryan Johnson’s goal in the 80th minute. It’s worth noting that the addition of Will Johnson has definitely had an incredible impact on Chara’s play.

* Andrew Jean-Baptiste

I’m very excited about the potential for Jean-Baptiste. Remember, he’s only 20 years old (he turns 21 in June) and while he still makes mistakes, he is extremely gifted and is only going to get better.

* Some surprising statistics

It’s early, but these really help reinforce how different a team the Timbers are in 2013.

After two matches, Portland leads MLS in:
– Shot attempts (40)
– Shots on goal (16)
– Corner kicks (12)

Still, it’s time to start converting these chances, which seems awfully familiar to characteristics in past Timbers teams. However, I’m hopeful and optimistic that this team will get better.

 

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7 thoughts on “Five quick comments on the Timbers/Impact match

  1. Interesting point on Harrington’s culpability on the second goal. He headed upfield after passing to Johnson, and while I don’t think he could possibly have made it back in time to have an impact on the play, you do see him loafing a bit in the midfield just before the pass to Romero. I don’t think he should be faulted (IMO Johnson is the goat on that particular play), but I do wonder what he was doing.

    1. Good point. I noticed Harrington more on the play I think because I saw the same bit of loafing and ball-watching and was wondering what he was doing.

  2. If we are to blame anyone for the Timbers’ defeat last night, it surely has to be the impressive Montreal back line. If our guys were that well organized, we’d be in much better shape.

  3. Fully agreed.

    I had an event that prevented me from watching Saturday night’s match, but was sick to death to see they had lost at home to Montreal.

    But I keep reminding myself—we have EIGHT starters this year who were either not with the team, or barely seeing action last season. This really is a reset and we’re playing a system that’s going to have LOTS of growing pains as these guys try to put everything together and become a team, not just 11 guys with potential.

  4. Watching Montreals back line made me realize how disorganized our back line is. Our center backs are covering a lot more ground than they should. If we have both outside backs forward then Chara and Will better be ready to cover for them. Will has been late on many occasions. Chara has been pretty good and covering back. When we turn the ball over I would like to see our entire midfield react more quickly.

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