Six Degrees: Confusing Mess

All sorts of real-world issues are grabbing my time right now, so this will be a short write-up. Which is probably just as well. It was a confusing game.

1) The first interesting story from the game was the Starting XI. After last week’s 3-0 ass-kicking in San Jose, Caleb Porter made a lot of changes.

In goal, Jeff Attinella was out and Jake Gleeson was in. Attinella’s hurt, so maybe this wasn’t due to poor performance. We’ll find out whenever he heals up.

In front of goal, Lawrence Olum was out and Roy Miller was in. Not Miller’s first time starting, of course, but his first time starting on the right, next to Liam Ridgewell. This gave us two left-footed center backs side-by-side. Did it work? Hard to say. Will we see it again next week? Probably. Caleb will want to give those two a chance to get used to each other.

In the attacking third, Diego Valeri was back at center mid, but alas, wasn’t terribly effective. Darlington Nagbe was not back at left midfield, but instead of replacing him with Darren Mattocks, Porter instead shifted Sebastian Blanco to the left and started Dairon Asprilla on the right. I question this move. Why?

2) Because the team spent most of the game attacking up that right side, and Asprilla and Alvas Powell did not do it well. Tons of turnovers, tons of indecision. Yes, there were some good moments, but on the whole, not their best work. And since Valeri wasn’t at his best, I would’ve liked Blanco over there, helping out.

This focus on the right side meant that our left side was almost silent. Vytautas Andriuskevicius spent essentially the entire game in the defensive half of the field. Meanwhile, Blanco floated to the middle and Valeri floated to the right. With everyone floating right, it felt like the entire field was listing to starboard.

And with Powell seeing so much time on the attack, the right side of the defense was a little exposed. Both Powell and Miller would probably like to forget this play.

3) At halftime, Atlanta had about 73% possession, but only one shot. That’s kind of weird, isn’t it? Possession without purpose.

Of course, 30 seconds into the 2nd half, this happened.

This goal is disturbingly reminiscent of last week’s Chris Wondolowski goal. Top of the box, equidistant between the two center backs, Liam Ridgewell a bit too far back, a bit too slow to close.

I wish I had a gif to show you what happened three minutes later, when Miguel Almiron nearly scored from almost the exact same spot. This may be a problem. The defense may want to lock down Zone 14.

4) Ridgy made up for things a few minutes later when he headed in a David Guzman free kick.

Two things to note. One, we had quite a few guys beating their man on this play. Two, they may all have been offside. Including Ridgy. Check out this gif. Atlanta’s #14 may be keeping him onside, but I have my doubts. I think we got lucky.

5) Some random points.

One, Fanendo Adi whacked another defender in the face Sunday. I hope the DISCO doesn’t suspend him yet again.

Two, this is a red card.

Three, not only would this David Guzman shot have won us the game, it might have caused the stadium to collapse.

Four, remember when there was a big hubbub with the 4th official and it took forever for play to be resumed and nobody in the stands knew what the hell was going on? That was a concussion thing, it’s utterly fascinating, and I implore you to read what Chris Rifer has to say about it. He’s 100% on the money.

6) And I’ll finish by completely pissing off the Timbers Army and the 107ist.

As the game was winding down Sunday, as the Timbers were desperately attacking, sending wave after wave forward, the crowd, as usual, was absolutely fabulous. Loud, passionate, all working together to urge the boys to find one more goal. It was wonderful.

And then, in the 85th minute, just when the team needed us the most, we all quieted down and sang “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” And for two, three, maybe four minutes, every single bit of oxygen was sucked out of the stadium. Any advantage we may have given the players on the field was completely and totally gone.

Yes, the song eventually ended and, yes, we then resumed screaming and yelling and urging the boys on, but that doesn’t change the fact that for three or four minutes at the absolute climax of the game, when our team needed us most, we decided it was time for a ballad.

This is bullshit. It’s bullshit every game, but it’s especially bullshit during a tight game when the team is desperately charging forward.

Now, I think there may be a historical reason we sing “You Are My Sunshine” in the 80th minute and, to be honest, I’m fine with it. The 80th minute isn’t quite the game’s climax and, even if it were, at least “Sunshine” gets faster and faster and faster.

But the 85th minute? That’s the climax. And “Can’t Help Falling” doesn’t get faster. It just drones on, soft and slow and soporific, as the players on the field wonder what the fuck just happened to the fans.

Would I be fine with this song in the 40th minute? Yes. Yes, I would. But in the 85th? Absolutely not.

I don’t care if it’s tradition. It’s a terrible tradition, it’s hurting the players on the field, and the TA leadership needs to fix it.

You may begin flaming me now.