Wise Guys Say 9/22

Wise Guys Say is a new feature at CRL. Following MLS matches, a couple TA supporters will take cheap shots as they play Monday Morning Center Back. Enjoy!

    Here's how it looks:

    Ready, GO!

    • In 2014, the Timbers are undefeated (3-0-2) in games broadcast on NBC (link). This week for MOTM, I'll be voting for John Strong.
      • And I for Robbie Earle.
        • #FireBleier
          • #KBOut
    • It took a few months but there was a HUGE development regarding the strength of our defense. CRL can now confirm that Ridgewell has achieved two-way communication with Kah without the use of massage or kissing.
      • Now Kah can focus all his on-pitch trainer skills on making Ricketts less Ricketty.
        • Ridgy’s topknot was finally tuned correctly to Kah’s broadcast signal.
          • Ridgy's topknot goes to 11.
    • From God's vantage point, I have to believe that youth soccer would have all of the organization and intentionallity of amoebas in a Petri dish.
      • Bees.
        • Or 22-player pong.
          • 22-player beer pong, maybe.
    • Barring an off-season acquisition, if Ricketts leaves next year Mike Toshack may decide to invest in a few dozen chimney starters (link).
      • Barring an off-season acquisition Jake Gleeson is finally going to move up to the big leagues and charm the women of PDX with his lovely looks and Kiwi accent, assets wasted down in Sacramento.
        • Instead of trading Weber, we get him a modeling gig. Way more profitable for us.
          • If our GK lineup next year is Weber/Gleeson, I may start selling spare tickets to Elite Model Management.
    • Wanted: GK Distribution Coach. Salary: Whatever it takes. To apply, please send letter of intent, current resume, and availability to Timbers Front Office, c/o GW.
      • Wanted: Girard Pique. Just have the GK play the ball to him every time.
        • Once we get a keeper with more coordination than an Ent, we’ll be fine.
          • I didn't think anything of it at the time but this could explain why GW has a sign on his desk that says, "Don't be hasty."
    • It just so happens I took three years of Spanish in high school. For those who didn't know, Jorge Villafaña translates "George: The way of the Faña."
      • Alternative meaning "Cross falling perfectly to one's head or foot"
        • I Sueno’d through most Spanish classes, Jorge feels me.
          • Mi backline no funciona!
    • Philosophical question: If Kah doesn't Kah in the woods, does it make a sound?
      • Are we talking about not digging a deep enough hole with our trowel here?
        • No, but he certainly makes a face.
          • If Kah doesn't Kah in the woods, does Timber Joey get the log for matchday?
    • Will Johnson is a lot like the Incredible Hulk. Except when things go sideways, Will's superpower is waiving his arms around like asynchronous windmills.
      • WJ is more like Inspector Gadget, he always seems to think he has everything under control but really it is just Chara playing the roles of Penny and Brain.
        • He’s witnessed one too many Canada geese take flight.
          • Inspector? You brought her!
    • As I tweeted immediately following Adi's first goal (and before the second one), "Adi goals are only delivered in packages of two (link)."
      • The problem is so are Timbers goals against except when we play Chivas and Vancouver.
        • Shipping and Handling not included, gladly payable on delivery.
          • Remember Amazon Subscribe & Save? Yes please.
    • After a long day in the sun, it always feels good to sleep on clean sheets.
      • And hopefully not soil them next weekend.
        • On the other hand, sleeping on clean sheet log slices? Not so much.
          • This would be a great time of year to sleep on clean sheets a couple weeks in a row.

    April 28, 2014

    Match Recap: @ Houston

    Timbers fans know there's not much new about the performance we saw yesterday on the pitch at BBVA Compass Stadium.

    The Timbers center backs failed to keep track of opponent players in the box, conceding an early goal. The midfield maintained possession but struggled to impose its will. The attack wasn't consistent enough to produce the goals required to take the three points.

    Stop me if this sounds familiar.

    While there are weaknesses, this isn't a bad Timbers side. No doubt the explanations and invocations to remember it's a long season have grown tiresome. No doubt we have players who look to have regressed from last year. No doubt we had breaks go our way last year that haven't so far this year. That said, this is still a talented team with a coach who's demonstrated he can take the Timbers to the upper echelon of MLS.

    There remains a small (and closing) window for the Timbers to make the playoffs in 2014. If that is to happen, the side must capitalize on the upcoming stretch of three home games. If the Timbers fail to earn more than five points in that stretch, the window will most likely close.

    With all that's at stake over the next three weeks, there's one moment from the match Sunday that haunts. It's minute 33. The Timbers have struggled all season to generate goals and haven't won a single game through nearly 1/4 of the season. Fernandez connects on exactly the type of goal the Timbers have been missing this season. The goal is forceful, it's opportunistic, it's scrappy. It's exactly what the Timbers need right now.

    Watch the celebration, such as it is. Jack Jewsbury contributes a half-hug, consisting mostly of pats on the head. Valeri eventually puts his arm around Fernandez too but Diego seems to have joined primarily because his momentum brought him too close to completely ignore the proceedings. Looking frustrated, Nagbe literally walks in the other direction. And that's it. Even La Gata seems bored.

    This is a team desperately in need of goals. This is a team desperately in need of points. This is a team desperately in need of a win. The team scores the goal which would eventually earn them the point and the side doesn't seem to care.

    If the Timbers are going to claw their way out of last place in MLS and earn a playoff spot, they're going to have to create their own luck with hard-fought, high-scoring performances. That kind of turn around takes guts. It takes heart. The Timbers didn't show much of either in yesterday's draw.

    Let's look back at the Three Questions for yesterday's match (link):
    • Have the Timbers identified a back line that balances leadership and athleticism?
      • No, but that's not why we came away with only one point. Futty and Kah have traded costly lapses in marking for the past few games. It appeared that this week was Kah's turn and he did what he does: 89min of decent marking, a handful of sloppy clearances, and one goal conceded. With Ricketts looking slower this year, the truth is it may be too much to ask this defense for clean sheets. It's up to the rest of the team to score multiple goals to generate wins. This is one of the touchstones of Porter's philosophy. The back line didn't deliver a clean sheet but that's not why the Timbers didn't win.
    • Can the Timbers control time of possession?
      • Yes. The Timbers utterly dominated time of possession in this game. This is an important component of Porter's philosophy. Similar to scoring the first goal, possession itself doesn't guarantee wins. But in Porter's system (like scoring first), it's a critical precursor.
    • Can the Timbers convert chances on offense when it matters?
      • No. The Timbers had fewer shots and shots on goal than the Dynamo.

    Bottom Line:
    • Last season, 1pt on the road against a potentially dangerous opponent would have been good enough. This season it isn't.

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