Strong start, weak finish
Portland has suddenly become a sports town that cannot finish games in the second half. Much like their hardwood counterparts, the Portland Timbers (1-3-1) let another victory that was seemingly in their grasp slip away as Chivas USA (2-3-0) overcame a one goal deficit at halftime to win 2-1 in front a standing room only crowd of 20,438 at Jeld-Wen Field.
Chivas USA 2, Portland 1
Saturday, April 7, 2012 10:30 PM – Jeld-Wen Field
Official – Chris Penso
Attendance – 20438
There was little for the Timber Army to like in the second half of the match, but there were elements to love in the first half:
1). Scoring First
For the first time all season, the Timbers scored first in a match as striker Kris Boyd tucked one away in the 16th minute. Due to a lack of offense, Chivas has scored first only once (in a 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake), despite the fact that the squad has only given up three goals in four matches entering their Saturday night match with Portland. Unfortunately, the goal was the only one that the squad scored.
2). Kris Boyd / Darlington Nagbe
The striker from Scotland scored on a defensive miscue when Chivas’ goalkeeper Dan Kennedy stumbled into defender James Riley while trying to clear a ball out of the Chivas box. As a result, an alert Boyd took advantage and scored his second goal of the season.
Coupled with an aggressiveness displayed Darlington Nagbe on the offensive end (four shots, two on goal) the two provided the type of energy in the first half that was needed in Saturday’s match, especially against a stingy Chivas defensive unit.
Unfortunately for Timbers fans, the effort was not sustained throughout the second half.
1). Minimal Shots on Goal
The Timbers failed to put heavy pressure on net, as they finished the match with only three shots on goal. Heading into the match, Chivas’ defense, in terms of goals allowed (three in four matches), was in the top half of the Western Conference.
Everyone in the building knew that Portland would need more than a handful of shots on Kennedy in order to beat Chivas. Despite having one of the worst offenses in Major League Soccer, Chivas had more shots on goal (four) and shots overall (14-12) than the Timbers.
2). Troy Perkins and the Timbers Defense
After giving up six goals in four prior matches, Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins extended the misery of Portland fans by allowing two more in the loss. The blame cannot be solely placed on Perkins, because he was not responsible for the defense completely breaking down under the second half rush instituted by Chivas’ coach Robin Fraser.
Momentum on the defensive end is what the Timbers sorely need in the young season and the players in front of him have been unable to provide a spark. Until Perkins and the defense put together better performances, the Timbers will continue to let games slip away.
3). Finishing Games
Portland had an eerily similar finish to their loss against Real Salt Lake when the team let a one goal lead slip away in the second half. The defense gave up the equalizer in the 48th minute and the game-winner in the 82nd. The team has now lost two games at home when having a one goal lead.
These are the types of games that will haunt the Timbers if they finish a point or two short of earning a playoff birth.
In the defeat, Chivas jumped over Portland in the Western Conference standings, with the Timbers now sitting at seventh out of nine. Portland now trails the all-time series against Chivas USA 2-1-0.
The Timbers extended their sellout streak to 20 consecutive games.
Up next for the squad is a tilt against Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy on April 14.
Full Match Highlights