i know blogs are intended to discuss topical issues, make pertinent observations, and pretty much provide some blowhard a platform to show his intelligence. and, really, that is what this blog does daily. but last night i found myself suffering a bit from a maudlin tramp through the 80′s. yes, i said the 80′s. you can blame mags for the following blabber, after all it was he who brought up the 80′s in reference to port vale during his tribute to all things robbie earle. after reading his piece i was transported back to days when i pegged the legs of my levis, gave my hair a lovely swoop across the forehead, and wore sperry topsiders. yes, i did that before you mississippi street hipsters were born and i am still embarrassed by that fact. so, as forty looms ever closer i am struck with how easily i find myself humming certain bad songs throughout the day. how do they remain within my little brain?!
even with middle age approaching, i am left to wonder if there is a better explanation than age to suggest a plausible reason for bananarama playing endlessly within my head. i never once bought their album(s), nor did i really care for less than zero as a movie. so why now? well, it is summer and as summers go this latest installment has been a cold, and not so hot summer. it has been a cruel, cruel summer. and now that the thought of any playoff birth has gone, well, i am left to hope the next 14 or so matches do not end up like the last 4. so perhaps i am merely applying a soundtrack to the pertinent issues surrounding the timbers–the primary topic of this blog.
if any hope remained within the club that they were playoff quality, i think after the latest of three losses to chivas it has now vanished. indeed, the fact the playoffs are a near impossibility has set in with perkins. regardless of the need to keep upbeat and positive about the remainder of the season his statements following the match were telling.
We have thirteen, fourteen games left, and anything is possible at that point. There’s a lot of points still, and it just depends. We got to take it week by week. We keep going down this road, than yeah. But I don’t think we’re going to [make the playoffs].
those are statements indicative of a player resigned to playing for pride, not trophies. while he may have been suffering from personal disappointment, having committed a novice mistake that lead to the goats only goal, one cannot help but wonder if his reaction was a sign of more lasting frustrations developed throughout this season. regardless, there may be players in football who would mail-it-in when given the circumstances the timbers now face. perkins is not that type. and every indication from him suggests there are few of those like him in the dressing room.
I think it’s the overall attitude of the guys. The guys are upbeat, they’re giving everything they have. At this point, many teams would just hold it and say forget about it, let’s just see what we got. But the guys are fighting every day, and we’re constantly working to get better and better.
while the attitude within the dressing room may remain upbeat, even pleased with the type of showing they made on saturday, they still have failed to translate that sort of attitude on the pitch into consistent efforts. frankly, with the exception of knocking off top-dog rivals, the timbers have been closer to a padded cell than a party room.
even more concerning, and galling for that matter, is the insistence of the coach, interim coach, and other apologists for the state of the team, in using the classic “something needs to change” answer to excuse the situation. at this point, it is apparent things need to change. but what will?
following saturday’s loss, gavin came out with the usual lip service, claiming something needs to change and that the timbers need to take their chances. i have read over and over the quotes that follow losses and all tend to claim the same need for change. and each time it is something different–the defense, the offense, the application, the attitude, the beer served at the jw, even the color of the kit has all been used to explain the seemingly inexplicable. but the most consistent complaint and excuse is made about the team’s inconsistency.
that is not a hard thing to understand. consistency on the pitch is developed through a consistent philosophy employed in training. moreover, consistency simply requires doing the same thing day in and day out until it is beaten into the psyche of the individual players. i cannot help but think the continued changes to formations might have something to do with the issues of consistency–the players have no idea what they are doing out there. in the run of losses i believe the timbers have used 3 different formations. no wonder the timbers often look out of sorts and uneasy on the pitch–they dont know what they are doing, or are confused in the application. likely the best change is to stop changing the changes and give the players a solid foundation to work from. they then might be able to use their skills with confidence rather than the insecurity recently displayed.
yesterday, gavin suggested he will begin to iron out some of the issues that plague the timbers in training and the youngsters were to feel the effects of the new approach.
The young players will notice they are going to start to work a little bit more. I think we can get more out of our young players but we need to invest the time and energy into them, so their schedule is very different from the senior players in the squad and rightfully so. The young players were in at 8 am this morning and we’ll let them go in an hour or and hour and a half. It is not a punishment. It is that we want them to improve, we want them to be good players so we give them all the tools necessary.
aside from what appears to be favoritism to senior players, i applaud this approach. so long as they practice as they play, the increased practice will certainly benefit the younger players. however, nothing the senior players have done suggests they should be placed in a position to avoid extra laps, drills, or buns up. i can think of a handful of senior players who need the extra laps and drills as much as the younger lads. fitness will always increase a player’s efficiency and efficiency increases the performance of what has already been done on the pitch. and so far this season very little has been done on the pitch worthy of a hall pass off the pitch.
have a great wednesday.