Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Portland Timbers in March-Lions and Lambs

I've been biting my pen nib and not jumping in to comment on the "boys in green" as they have entered the MLS fray these past two weeks.  I was able to see some of the streamed early matches and watched the 'stream' last night from University of Portland from the warm and dry comfort of my own home.  I'd had a meeting and didn't even think of trying to go out to the peninsula. 
But with three games in hand, two of them in league play,  I'm beginning to feel that I can speak without seeming to be hasty in judgement.   And I have several observations that may be wrong but they reflect what I see.
1) Perlaza was written up as a forward with the moves and speed to burn defenders and be tres' dangerous.  I haven't seen that in the games.  And realize it may be because he's feeling a little tentative and not "fuerte".  But I don't see it. 
2) Rodney Wallace at left back isn't impressing me.  Last night in the Chivas match,  there were two instances in which the attacking forward not only beat him but turned him so he was out of the play.  He does get forward into the attack but I feel he's a weak link.
3) The midfield has its moments.  But there's no one who's the dominant 'field general' ala Beckenbauer.   And this team needs a general.
4) The team is playing with a man up from the end of the first half through the next forty five.  I didn't see them using their extra man to control play and make Chivas run themselves out.  At one point, there were four Chivas players collapsing on our player with the ball and he had no pass options.  Am I not doing the math correctly? 
5) Admittedly the defense was more solid last night,  but in two breakdowns,  Gleeson had to make extraordinary saves and that was when we were up a man.  Should not be happening.   
6) Al Hassan had at least three moments when he should have been at the far post because the ball coming down the right side came through and there was no Timber there to bat it in.   In the instance, he was ten yards shy of being dangerous.  I had the sense that perhaps he needs more seasoning to get the rhythm of this league.  We saw him at the end of the season against the Caps and he showed good moves and field sense.  Not sure what to say except 'time'.
7) Cooper was strong and aggressive.  I like it.  And he has a high velocity shot.  The assassins on opposing teams will be going after him for that reason.  Which means his partner upfront needs to take advantage and be the wily alternative.
8) A man up in the first half and we couldn't control the game.  That made me very frustrated.  Our crew looked anxious when they should have been confident.  They were playing well in many respects but also were first-timing bad balls and were not looking around,  slowing the pace,  and taking advantage of their extra man.

I'm looking forward to putting myself into our season tix section for the home opener.  I hope to see a crew that's gotten the bugs out.  I like these guys.  I want to see them play their best game. Confident.  And fun to watch.