A frustrating draw or the best road point ever? It all depends on your outlook.
1) I really do think the biggest story from Saturday’s 2-2 draw in Dallas is how we should feel about it. Psychologically, was it a win or a loss?
I can certainly understand the people who are upset right now. I mean, the Timbers didn’t just give up one lead, they gave up two. That’s hella hella1 frustrating, no matter the situation. And right now, some fans are focused only on that frustration, on how the Timbers gave up yet another lead, how once again they had three points in hand, only to let it slip away. I get it. Totally.2
But still, I didn’t come out of the game frustrated, I came out of it thrilled, and I think that’s completely and totally due to how I went into the game.
It’s hard to argue against Dallas being the best team in the league. The won the Supporter’s Shield last year, they nearly made the Champions League Final, they went into our game with the league’s best PPG average, and in Acosta, Hedges, and Zimmerman, they’ve got three of the best young Americans in the league.
Not enough for you? We were playing them without our best player. On the road.
So I went into the game thinking we’d probably lose. A draw? A draw would be fabulous. In fact, I was so focused on getting that draw, I refused to think about anything else. Even when we scored the first goal, I was still thinking, keep the draw, keep the draw. Kind of weird, I’ll admit, but psychologically, it really helped. Dallas ties it up? No biggie, I just wanted a draw. We re-gain the lead, then give it up? Again, no big deal. All I wanted was the draw.
I gotta be honest, this is a pretty good way to watch a tough road game. It kept my stress levels way down, and when the final whistle blew, I was happy.3
Now, next week in San Jose? I’m not sure a draw will be enough for me. San Jose’s no Dallas. We should aim for three points. Which, of course, means we’ll get zero, right? I apologize in advance for jinxing the team.
2) Let’s leave my brain and move onto the field, shall we? Here’s what Fanendo Adi did in the 30th minute.
For a big tall dude, Adi doesn’t score a lot of headers. Seeing this gif, I think I know why. On most set pieces, the other team covers Adi, while Dallas tried the strategy of leaving him wide fucking open.
I have to be honest, this seems like a really good strategy. I encourage all our future opponents to do the exact same thing.
3) As I said earlier, I was 100% committed to a draw, so in the 61st minute, I wasn’t completely destroyed when former Timber Maxi Urruti did this.
So much cognitive dissonance! Initially, I’m frustrated the Timbers have given up a goal. At the same time, I’m glad that, if it had to happen, it was Maxi who did it. I’m then immediately sad that Maxi’s no longer a Timber. I then see the replay and become more and more impressed by the goal. I then repeat these steps for about two or three minutes, while draining my beer.4
Thought exercise: What former Timber would cause the most cognitive dissonance if he scored against us? Will Johnson? Rodney Freaking Wallace? David Horst? Sal Zizzo?
What if Lucas Melano came back to MLS and scored on us? Would there be any cognitive dissonance, or would it be all pain, no pleasure? What if Kris Boyd came back from Scotland?5
For my money, the two guys who could score on us and get nothing but cheers would be Jack Jewsbury and Futty Danso. Since Jack’s retired and Futty’s playing in Malaysia, I doubt we’ll be faced with this conundrum, but still, it would be weird.
4) At some point in the second half, I was thinking to myself, Hello, self. How’s it hangin’? You know what you should do? You should write about how Blanco is gun shy. How he can’t pull the trigger. How he’ll never score in a Timbers uniform and life will be sad forever and ever.
And then, about thirty seconds later, he did this.
Not bad, eh? My thoughts can influence reality.
On the topic of Sebastian Blanco, one, hopefully the goals will start rolling in, now that he’s opened his account, two, he’s clearly going to be our go-to if Diego Valeri misses any future games, and three, it’s nice to see he really can play with either foot. We’d been promised that, coming into the season, but it’s nice to see it play out on the field.
Our ambipedal6 friend nearly had an assist, too, but Darlington Nagbe went and fucked it up.
Where have you gone, Angry Nagbe? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
Some people are screaming that no penalty was called here, but I’m not sweating it. For two reasons, mostly. One, Nagbe should have one-timed that ball into the back of the net, and two, earlier in the game, this happened.
Savvy move by Akindele here. Get between Liam Ridgewell and the ball, slam on the brakes, and get run over. Huge round of applause to referee Baldomero Toledo for seeing through Akindele’s shenanigans.7
5) Speaking of Akindele’s shenanigans, in the 80th minute, he did this.
Not much to say here. Alvas Powell falls down. If he keeps his feet, that’s probably not a goal. Alvas looks a little annoyed with someone afterwards, but I’m not sure who or why. The only person I think we could yell at here is Nagbe, who maybe should’ve put a little more effort into following that ball to the end line. But even then, if Powell keeps his feet, that’s probably not a goal.
6) Let’s talk about Jeff Attinella. He’s started two games now, one a victory at home, the other a draw on the road to the best team in the league. Some Timber fans are calling for him to be our new starter.
I’m less convinced. Not because Attinella hasn’t been good. He has. But because he hasn’t been so good that Caleb Porter has no choice but to bench Jake Gleeson and make Attinella the starter.
Here’s Attinella’s first big save Saturday.
And here’s his second.
To be sure, those are great saves, but we’ve seen Jake make those, as well. Was Attinella significantly better in distribution? In communication? I’m not convinced. And when it comes to leaving his box, Attinella had a least two very questionable moments Saturday. I couldn’t find video of the first moment, but the second moment looked like this.
Creaming Alvas Powell? Kicking the ball to Maxi Urruti, who nearly put it into the open net? That’s better than what we’re getting from Jake?
If I’m wrong, please let me know. If Attinella’s clearly a better choice than Gleeson, please tell me why. But so far, I’m still Team Jake.8
And finally, just so I can close with something both amusing and horrifying, enjoy watching, not one, not two, but three Timbers whiff on a ball in the box.
Insert hella hella joke here. Did you know you don’t have to click on the footnotes to read my stupid jokes? Just float your mouse over the number and the stupid joke will appear. Like, hella fast. Hella hella fast. ↩
Like, hella totes. ↩
The morphine drip probably helped, too. ↩
And my morphine drip. ↩
He’d score on a PK, obviously. ↩
Google search term: ‘ambidextrous, but for feet.’ ↩
I swear to God, I’ll pistol-whip the next guy who says shenanigans. ↩
I’d make a Twilight joke here, but I don’t want anyone to know I’m actually a 14-year old girl. ↩