Chivas USA 1 – 0 Portland Timbers
Road games continued to prove tough for the Portland Timbers as they fell to Chivas USA in The Home Depot Center on Wednesday afternoon.
Trying to come up with their first road win of the season, the Timbers could not muster decent attacks and threats on goal. Chivas, looking to distance itself from the bottom of the MLS ranks and ascend to playoff contention, scored their only goal in the 16th minute. After Ryan Smith found his way through the left side of Portland’s defense, he crossed a rocket of a ball across the box that ultimately found Miller Bolanos for an open opportunity.
The goal was just Chivas’ 12th of the season and gave them three valuable points in what is shaping up to be a competitive and tight Western Conference.
With Portland’s woes continuing, here are the midweek love ’em and hate ’em from the Timbers’ match against Chivas.
There were at least a few opportunities
If there was one bright spot to take from this game, it was that Portland almost had the same amount of shots (14) as Chivas (15) while also placing the same amount of shots on goal (2).
Sure, this may not be that exciting of a statistic, but it does show you that Portland was at least always in the game. It’s not like they were completely dominated again. In fact, Portland was able to put together several opportunities both at the beginning of the game and towards the end; opportunities that were unfortunately not converted into points.
Playing for a draft pick
Another positive that can be taken from this game is that the Timbers have virtually proven to the league and themselves that they will not be making the MLS playoffs this year.
While it may be tough for Timbers fans to accept that with the talented roster they possess, one benefit of being a lowly team this year is that you can play for a draft pick now, thus adding to your already talented roster.
With youthful talent and a stable veteran presence already surrounding the Timbers, a high draft pick in next years MLS draft would do wonders in solidifying the Timbers as a perennial playoff contender.
The game was dreadfully boring
With the only goal of the game scored in the 16th minute, it could be expected that this game was fairly lackluster in style. Though there are occasionally those exciting and enticing 0-0 or 1-0 matches, this would not be one of them. Perhaps it was because of the midday atmosphere and the thousands of screaming children in the stands, but both teams did not seem motivated at all.
Both teams struggled to create any momentum and it was a feeling that could be felt throughout the entire stadium. a
The Timbers still have to play on the road
The Timbers are now 0-7-2 on the road.
No team can claim to be any good if they cannot prove themselves away from the friendly confines of their home stadium. Sure, the Timbers may be OK at JELD-WEN, but the minute they step away from that field they become one of the more dreadful teams in all of MLS.
The Timbers are the only team in MLS play to not win a road game this year and they desperately need to find some passion away from home if they don’t want their organization to crumble into mediocrity.
The same formation
In their game against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Timbers played with five midfielders; a formation that provided for three goals but surrendered five. During the game,there was confusion and a lack of communication amongst players, resulting in a blowout loss at JELD-WEN.
Gavin Wilkinson, new head coach of the Timbers, stated that he used this formation to stop the attack of Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, and David Beckham. It clearly did not work.
So, why would he use it once again against lowly Chivas USA who had only manufactured eleven goals on the season?
Chivas had no real offensive presence, and by playing with five midfielders, Wilkinson limited his own teams attacking mentality and power. The Timbers used to be all about the fast attack and counters, but with these five midfielders they have lacked any of that same spark.
Wilkinson must go out of his own comfort zone and play with two or three forwards in order to give Portland a spring in their step once more.