Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tumbled up in Utah!

The Timbers match against Real this past week was dismal...hard to experience even through the medium of radio while on the road.   And yet it wasn't a surprise in its unfolding.  Real had its A team available and they've been the grittiest side in the western division this MLS season.   Portland on the other hand exposed its only weakness in that injury and disciplinary decisions limited the available roster.   The Timbers out of the gate this year made a seeming madcap rush to brilliance by playing a new, disciplined style of possession soccer.   Just past the halfway point of the season,   we can see that no matter the talent of the youngsters and newcomers on the field,  the Timbers' style isn't easy to step into in an instant and requires a delicate balance of solid, experienced players with talented, journeymen players eager to adapt but not always able to deliver consistent play.  

The match against RSL?   I think we had an obvious challenge with no seasoned back among our final four.   I think we continue to be hurt by the absence of Will Johnson though we were greatly helped by Chara's return.   I think we had too few choices organizing the play through midfield- Valeri's departure was a tragedy.   The overarching truth is that the team stepped up to compensate for the missing starters.   Al Hassan and Nagbe for example.  But it became a Himalayan journey once we were down a man.   

If I have any challenge to what I see happening,  I'd say that Kah needs to turn down the jets on his game presence--volatile behavior on the pitch almost always is a fatal flaw.   And is rarely helpful.   

So the weakness of the Timbers right now is their depth at each position.    I was watching the match between 'Spurs and Dynamo Tblisi and one of the observations the commentators made was that Spurs have 'quality depth at every position'.   Note to the wise,  Portland Timbers are still building to that status.   Until then,  we need to support their efforts--scoring when a man down--and urge the creation of  a solid, confident machine on the field.