Six Degrees: Losing Hope

DC Photo - Brad Mills, USA TODAY Sports

This was a horrendously ugly game. I don’t want to write about it, you don’t want to read about it, so there’s a chance this could be my shortest column ever.

1) In summation, the Timbers sucked. Yes, I know it was hot. Yes, I know we’d traveled across the country. But whatever, we could have done better.

Missed passes, disappearing stars, more missed passes, defensive attempts gone awry, even more missed passes, loss of energy down the stretch, and, of course, missed passes. My number one takeaway was how sloppy we were with the ball. My number two takeaway was how dead we were by the end.

2) Especially bad was our defense. This was the worst game I’ve seen Liam Ridgewell play. Can we blame it on the bad calf? Perhaps. Maybe that explains how dead he was late in the game, but does it explain his awful giveaways?

His fellow center back, Jermaine Taylor was also bad, but at least Taylor played until the end. Ridgy was done after 60 minutes. I really think Coach should’ve pulled him and put Amobi Okugo in there. He and Taylor last week were a whole lot better than this crap.

Our stars were no better. Diego Valeri disappeared late. Fanendo Adi was hardly there from the start. And this month’s heartthrob, Vytas Andriuskevicius, for the first time looked less than stellar.

3) Did anyone look decent? I thought Darlington Nagbe deserves praise, if only for the defensive help he gave. Even late in the game, he was tracking back, covering for our dead defense, lending a hand to lone CDM Jack Jewsbury.

Speaking of Jewsbury, he showed up. He wasn’t amazing, but at least he played the full 90.

Jack Barmby gave us our only real burst of energy, looking great off the bench.

And to complete the Jack trifecta, Jack McInerney was our best offensive player. By a large margin.

4) In fact, let’s have three JackMac gifs, just to reward the only Timber I can think of who might deserve Man of the Match.

Here’s his shot in the first half. Look at the gorgeous pass from Nagbe. This was probably the highlight of the game. If Bill Hamid doesn’t get a foot on it, that’s a goal, we’re tied 1-1, and maybe this is a very different column. Damn Hamid and his foot.

JackMac also had this sweet little give-and-go with Valeri. He’s not a target forward, but this is the sort of close quarter passing target forwards will give you.

But then there’s this 2nd half shot, which to be honest, I think everyone would like to do over. Could Jack have slipped a pass to Adi? Could Adi’s movement have been better? Could we have spread ourselves out a little more, created some space to work? This entire sequence feels like a missed opportunity.

5) Well, I suppose at some point I have to talk about DC’s two goals. Each time, a Portland center back screwed up.

The first DC goal was preceded by a Ridgy giveaway. Then on the goal itself, it was Ridgy’s man who got free and put the final header into goal.

On the second DC goal, yes, that was a gorgeous chipped pass which may have been impossible to stop, but still, I think if Taylor doesn’t make that desperate lunge to head it away, maybe he can get back, maybe get in the guy’s way. I’m not sure. It was a hell of a pass.

6) Despite all my current frustration, I haven’t completely given up on the playoffs. There’s still a chance we sneak in.

2016-08-15

Most of my hope is because the other teams around the red line are just as inept as us. Vancouver’s in free fall, San Jose is Team Mediocrity, and we just split a home and home with SKC. Mostly I think we can make the playoffs because none of our competitors want it any more than we do. Most years, it takes 50 points to get in. This year, maybe it takes less.

Sadly, there is one other team that is suddenly becoming a problem.

I was wrong last week when I said Seattle couldn’t catch us. They’ve got a new DP playmaker, they’re red hot, and we’re ice cold. So I’m changing my stance completely. Not only can Seattle catch us, they can pass us. And soon. They’re five points behind us and we’re playing twice in two weeks. If they win ’em both, it’s done. They’ve passed us.

In other words, we better figure things out in a hurry or we’re screwed.