I was only able to catch fleeting moments of the match the other night. Flying back from Berlin in the belly of a C130, still coping with the kind hangover that one gets from late night spent with CDU functionaries, I could barely get my screen open to access any kind of electronic communication. And then there was the fact that, for at least the fifth time the season and the second time running, NBC Sports had decided to televise the Timbers match (which meant I couldn’t watch it on MLS Live). While I applaud NBC for giving the league a wider scope of coverage, I am kind of shocked that they were down for showing two Timbers matches in a row. I love the Timbers, but it’s not like we are tearing up the league. Neither is Colorado for that matter. Can the battle for the Wooden Spoon really be interesting enough to blight the national airwaves with it twice in the space of four days? Well, I guess the people running the networks are the ones getting paid the big money, not me. And, in fact, it’s really my own fault for being too cheap to spend the money on cable.
I didn’t catch the first ten minutes of the match, mostly because of my own inefficiency in terms of searching out a pirate feed. When I did tune in, we were already a goal down. When I got a look at the match highlights at halftime, it looked as if Cascio could have scored after about 40 seconds, leaving Kimura for dead on the pitch. It’s always tough to come up against a team from which one has been traded, and this was clearly the case for our right back. The other night in Portland he looked extremely amped. Last night he just looked out of it, at least for a lot of the first half. The first goal was a sort of knock on effect from that problem. Kimura got beat to a cross by Cascio and, although the latter didn’t put it on goal, he did manage to knock it back to the Akpan, the evening’s replacement for the lumbering stylings of Connor Casey.
You could look at that goal and say that neither Horst nor Mosquera managed to stay on the goal side of Akpan, but the fact of the matter is that if Kimura shuts that down then the question is moot. But it was not moot. It was the exact opposite moot. It was an early goal against us on the road, where were don’t tend to score a lot even at the best of times (which these most certainly are not). If I hadn’t already been suffering from the effects of several days of over consumption of schnapps and wienerschnitzel, watching that play would have made me sick to my stomach. As it was, I was already sick to my stomach. So that point was moot.
The second goal cost my friends at the Bundeswehr Luftwaffe a couple of airsick bags. There is a whole barrel of blame to be doled out here. The failure to communicate between Kimura and Mosquera was grievous. What Kimura thought he was doing there was anyone’s guess, but you just can’t let an attacker get goal side on you like that. Mosquera is less culpable, as he had to account for the onrushing Akpan, but neither he nor Kimura moved spot where the ball landed with appropriate alacrity. Of course, it didn’t help that Horst had dropped too deep and created a pocket of space into which Cascio could run without fear of being offside. About the only person within a ten yard radius who wasn’t at fault was Ricketts, who did very well to stop the first one. If your defense is willing to concede multiple bites at the cherry from six feet in front of goal…blah blah blah. You’ve heard this all before and it makes my head hurt to rehearse it again.
Castrillón should really have made it three in the 73rd minute. Akpan left Mosquera for dead and then calmly rolled one through to Castrillón who had managed to get about ten yards the wrong side of Steven Smith. Would it be too severe to say that there is just no excuse for getting beat on a run to a through ball like that? No, no it wouldn’t. That is on the lesson plan on about the second day of Fullback 101. Fortunately, and I know that this is an odd term to use about a side that was floating dead in the water by that point, Castrillón failed to convert the chance that he was handed
Of course, then Castrillón made up for it about twelve minutes later. You’ve got to hand it to Kimura. He was really determined to be involved in all of the goals, and so he was. While Castrillón jumped for this ball, Kimura remained rooted to the turf. If the premise is that the defender isn’t going to jump, I’m pretty sure that I could pot one from there. Kimura basically said after the match that he had gotten psyched out by the circumstance of playing against his old team in their stadium for the first time. Well, the must have really put the zap on his head because he was off the pace of the game all night.
I talked in my post the other day about how pleasant it was in Friday’s game to see the Timbers go a whole match without any catastrophic bungling at the back. It looked very much to me as if they were just saving it up. Yes, our little uptick in form did present the promise that at least some of the problems that had blighted season had finally been put to bed. But the problems remain and I am afraid that the prospect of a strong run to end the season is about as far away as it was a few weeks ago. There are a lot of teams better than Colorado in this league, and they will punish us far more severely for our weaknesses.