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. 

6 Comments Six Degrees: Feels Like A Loss

  1. Roy Gathercoal

    “Extrapolate” means “to come from the pole.” Especially used in reference to the North Pole. As in Santa Claus is responsible for a whole lot of extrapolation.

    “Interpolate” thus means “to go to the Pole.” Except this one refers to Poland. See, mom, all that time in grad school wasn’t a complete waste.

    My first car was an olive Dodge Dart. Sweet Straight Six. One of the most underrated cars ever. But cars should not be olive in color. I called it “Froggy.” Why do young people tend to feel the need to name their cars?

    This game stank. Or rather, our performance stank. Not because we played as poorly as, say, any game from the last two weeks of last season. Rather, it smelled like a bag of six-week-old oyster guts exactly because we simply did not show up to play for 90 minutes. We played for something like the 20 minutes between minutes 5 and 25, but then we were just sloppy. What happened to the crisp passing and great ball control of the last few weeks?

    We passed more often to “none of the above” than to anyone on either team. Why such a degradation in performance? Why so flat at home? This looked like last year’s team–not bad, but not good enough to win. Possessing the ability to play beautiful football, but apparently lacking the desire to do more than preserve the one-goal lead.

    I am so hard on this team exactly because we are capable of so much more. And it wasn’t amazing play by New England that made for the bog-walk.

    OK guys, we now have that stinkaroo of a game done and in the history books. We can extrapolate from past performance that at least one game like that can be expected each season. I just hope there isn’t a flatter week somewhere in our near future.

    We do have the best front six in the league. They just have to want to play. That’s the “hunger” Porter keeps mentioning. This time we had all the hunger of Thanksgiving late afternoon. Maybe Tryptophan is the problem?

    1. Roy Gathercoal

      on the other hand, one might gather that “he is just being a grouch” should be interpolated into the first paragraph of my post?

        1. Roy Gathercoal

          No. by the time I sold this car (after I got married) it had caused me enough trouble that I haven’t really missed it since.

          I am feeling better and in much improved humor.

          I was wrong.

          The play was not that awful, it is just that we picked the most awkward moments in which to concentrate our awfulness. And I had this really uncomfortable deja vu experience from last season when Adi couldn’t seem to finish anything. One of those games, i guess.

          Upon VAR (Video re-Assessment by Roy) I do believe one or more penalty kick calls might have changed things–as would one of two red cards not given. I am not so sure that I see the same gassiness after the 65th minute that John saw. It just looked like in the second half, the net on the South End was located two feet too far to the East. Being about 15 feet taller would have helped.

          So we move on. The great build-up play is great, but if no one can finish one of our own set-ups, then it will be a long season. Thank goodness Valeri wasn’t particular about who put the ball in front of him.

          And I am beginning to have serious doubts about Mr. Gleeson. Two weeks in a row, now. Come on, Jake, don’t make it three? After all, McIntosh had a decent game even though T2 lost at Starfire. And Attinella had some shining moments in Rimando’s absence last season. But I wouldn’t trade Gleeson for Rimando right now. . . at least based on recent performance.

          So as I said, we had to have lost a game sometime this season. And draw a game. I was just hoping they wouldn’t come back-to-back in a home-and-away pair of weeks.

          Next week, the guys can make up for it. Philadelphia seems unlikely to do much to interfere, although we could have said the same of New England.

        2. C.I. DeMannC.I. DeMann

          Over on Stumptown Footy, Chris Rifer made a point I agree with: there were times late in the game when Adi was the only guy doing work in the box. Blanco, Nagbe, and Valeri were content to send Adi service, but weren’t crashing into the box with him. Were they tired? Were they following orders to be conservative? Were they just naturally hesitant (I’m looking at you, Darlington…)? Impossible to say. But I’d love to see more guys in the box from here on. Less crosses, more drives, more people making the defense work. These would make me happy.

  2. jdlawes

    Unlike Roy, I’m not gonna put this on the players. Porter owns every sorry piece of this.

    At sixty-five minutes my friend Brent and I were pointing out that DV8 was looking gassed. By 70′ Farfan was moving like a man wading in jello. Chara was a step late and Nagbe was in Safe Mode. The whole team looked burnt out. As NE brought in fresh legs Porter must have seen what we did…but did nothing.

    I know that the players are supposed to be like FIFA17 and go indefatigably for 90+ every match. But IRL they don’t, and that’s where the gaffer steps in. When he didn’t Porter dropped those two points as surely as if he’d have put the ball past Jake himself.


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