Six Degrees: Feels Like A Loss

Not all draws are created equal. Draws at home, when you give up the lead in the 84th minute, those leave a decidedly bad taste in your mouth.

1) Let’s use one degree simply to appreciate Diego Valeri. His goal Sunday was breathtaking. Here’s a nice slowed-down look at it.

That’s heart-breakingly beautiful, isn’t it?

We’re now five games into the year and Diego Valeri is still averaging a goal a game. Do I think he’ll hit 34 this year? No. But jeez, five goals in five games is no small thing. He also has two assists, which extrapolates out to 13.6 on the year.1

In other words, in addition to being a hell of a nice guy, Diego Valeri is also very, very good at soccer.

2) There was another goal in the game. This one wasn’t heart-breakingly beautiful, just heart-breaking.

Who’s to blame here? Roy Miller, for the giveaway that preceded it? Jake Gleeson, for spilling his first save? Diego Chara, for not playing Lee Nguyen tighter?

Or maybe we should blame our offense for not putting the game away with a second goal?

I can’t quite figure our offense out. Some games, we’re a Ferrari. Other games, we’re a Pinto.2 We’ve scored a lot of early goals this year – a league-best 5 goals in the first 15 minutes of games. We’ve scored some late goals, too – three late ones after Minnesota got frisky, then another three after Houston took a 2-1 lead.

But then we’ve had the LA game and this weekend’s New England game, where we scored one early goal, then went maddeningly silent. Against LA, we held on for a 1-0 win. Against New England, we didn’t.

So I repeat my earlier statement that I can’t figure our offense out. I hope the coaching staff can. And soon, too. Nobody likes seeing a Ferrari cough and sputter.

3) But if you’ll allow me to continue with the Ferrari analogy,3 maybe all we need is a new set of spark plugs. Spark plugs named Dairon Asprilla, Darren Mattocks, and Jack Barmby.

This offseason, the Timbers front office made a lot of noise about how they’d improved the team’s depth. This is all well and good, but if we now have depth, why does Caleb Porter seem so hesitant to use it? On Sunday, for the second time in five games, the Timbers made zero substitutions.

The first time was against Houston. In that game, we went down 2-1, only to power back with three late goals to win 4-2. Did Caleb see that and think his starters were indefatigable?4 I think Sunday’s second half proves they aren’t.

Maybe the difference is that Houston took the lead. Maybe going down 2-1 kicked our boys in the ass and made them 90 minutes effective. But this Sunday, we didn’t need to re-take a lead, we just had to hold one. I wonder if that subtle difference explains everything. Maybe our starting lineup needs a rabbit to chase if they’re gonna go a full 90 minutes. But ask them to hold a lead? Maybe that’s when it’s time to use that bench we’re so proud of.

4) But as long as we’re bringing guys off the bench, could we bring in a new ref, too?

Kevin Stott was a mess on Sunday. Enjoy the incompetence.

The leg-breaker above? Not only was this not a yellow card, it wasn’t even a foul. Think the disciplinary committee will be handing out a suspension? For the player or the ref?

And here’s another beauty for the disciplinary committee! Good thing Marco Farfan‘s got young ankles, eh?

Next up, who’s ready for a PK? Not Kevin Stott!

Not satisfied with Stott no-calling that? Here he is no-calling a foul on Roy Miller!

But Stott did have one nice moment in the game.

Look at that form! By God, that’s more than a booking, that’s a performance! Well done, Kevin! Next time, let’s see some jazz hands.5

5) Some quick player takes.

Marco Farfan – Congrats on your home debut. Don’t forget that History paper that’s due on Tuesday.

Vytautus Andriuskevicius – Get well soon, brother, or young Mr. Farfan might just steal your spot.

Liam Ridgewell – And you get well soon, too, or Timberdom might start wondering why we’re paying big bucks to a guy who only plays 25 games a year.

Sebastian Blanco – I spent the whole game wishing you would shoot the ball more, only to look at the box score and see you led the team with five shots. What? How? Were some of those crosses ruled shots? Or am I just blind? This is very confusing.

6) Next up, a trip to Philadelphia.

This past weekend, DC United scored two goals against Philly. This is after scoring zero goals in their first three games. So, yeah, if you’ve got a sputtering offense and need it fixed, Philly’s the team you go to.

The only question is which Timbers offense shows up – the one that scores early, the one that scores late, or the one that scores a single goal then putzes around for the rest of the game, hoping to win 1-0.

Will we see Ridgy? Vytas? Our bench? I have no answers. For a couple weeks, I thought I had this team figured out. Now I’m back to having no idea.

But despite all this confusion and uncertainty, at least we’ve got this. Let’s hope that line keeps rising.

  1. Insert extrapolation joke here. Did you know you don’t have to click on these footnotes to read my stupid jokes? Just float your mouse over the number and the stupid joke will magically appear. I’m sure we can extrapolate something from this. Or interpolate, perhaps. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what either of these words mean, they’re just big and impressive-looking and I’m hoping they’ll make me look smart. 

  2. Fun fact: the first car I ever drove was a Ford Pinto. Blue. Hatchback. No radio. I was stone-cold pimpin’. 

  3. Again, I have no idea what this word means. 

  4. I actually know what this one means. It means “of or relating to pigeons.” 

  5. Where have you gone, Kalif Alhassan? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Woo woo woo.