Monday, May 30, 2011

Portland Timbers v DC United

Okay. Weirdest game ever.  I posted the link from 'droppping timber' because at midnight, hours after this match ended I couldn't find any fan site that was commenting on today's tussle in present tense.   Lots of bravado written well in front of play...nothing after.

So I think the concern that the crew comes out not feeling the need to rip flesh and set the goals afire is a legitimate one.  We came out today with some very nice play but not enough heart.  

The game became a grudge match early on as the United players showed their willingness to batter our folk into submission...whether or not there was a call from the official.  Is this something related to Troy Perkins having been 'bought' ?  I don't know.    When the first goal came,  I'd say it wasn't Perkins who missed his assignment....the man coming in to deliver the flick on home was not well-marked.  It is what it is.  

Timbers had a good movement and much creativity on the field.  But my longtime friend and teammate, Mike, pointed out that we were putting high looping balls in when we had crosses and not lower trajectory, more dangerous balls.

So the half ended with us in a hole.   And the second half opened with several offensive forays from our crew that couldn't guite buy us some joy.  At which point, we had Kenny Cooper fouled in the box and an opportunity to even it all.   Teams often have someone who's the "go to" guy for pk's  but Kenny was ready to take the shot as blood compensation. He took the shot and it was blocked.
Consternation reigned!   But wait! The AR called the DC keeper for going off his line, so we had a redo..And Kenny again stepped up and the shot was blocked!  Consternation reigned.   Cooper didn't use his 90 mph shot but tried to do a finesse both times-not good.  But wait!   the AR said that the DC keeper had again gone off his line and so the PK was reset.  This time though, Jewsbury was the man to step up,  and Cooper, distraught,  was directed to move aside.  Number 13 buried the ball in the net as he should and the home crowd were energized. The score was even. 

Minutes later,  United were awarded a PK at the other end and without hesitation knocked it home to take back their lead.  In no other match that I can recall over thirty some years was there a double retake on a pk.    Crazy.

The game proceeded at a fast pace from there on.  The Timbers had many rushes but couldn't actually create shots on goal.  DC United engaged in steady thuggery and the flavor of the game slid toward the grim end of soccer.  Not much of the beautiful game.  

The question surfaces in reflection on the match as to whether a healthy Charlie Davies and Dex McCarty would have tipped the balance so that the Timbers were back on their heels early.  Hard to say but the reality was that, crazy or not,  the tote at the end didn't favor our guys.   

This has to be the most odd match I've ever seen.  The resets on PKs were just the surface of a strange day.  

Portland Timbers need to shake it off.  It's not important to have a legendary 'never defeated at home' record.   All that's important is to have a won loss record that takes the team to the next level: the playoffs.   

We'll see if they can do that.