the term meh is about all that can be used to describe my feelings about the result from saturday night. the fact remains we have not scored a goal since our trip to a galaxy far, far away. and as much credit people want to give the timbers for the win over sporting, i say this: we did not win against sporting, sporting lost. regardless of the outcome, you cannot consider an owngoal a goal created by the side, nor can you attribute that win to anything more than blind stupid luck. the timbers created nothing then, and have created nothing still. and so the goalless streak continues.
do not get me wrong, a draw is better than a loss and a goalless draw shows more about the team’s character than say a 2-2 draw, where we gave up the 2nd goal at the 85 minute. it appears we have learned what an important platform an assured defensive performance can provide the attacking portion of the game. aside from some glaring giveaways courtesy of mssrs chabala and palmer, the defense did most everything right. i was especially impressed with futty–what a solid performance he delivered, and a solid post-game interview. the real mark of the defense is that columbus were limited to 3 shots on goal the entire 90 minutes. though mosquera does look suspect at covering an onrushing player, which is an issue of speed not quality, his partnership with futty is one that i look forward to seeing again.
in a moment of consternation to an awarded free-kick expressed through 20k groans, i had to agree with a call made by the ref. a neighbor to the rear was inconsolable and dismayed by that fact. i looked at him and said, hey, man, you know i may be a loudmouthed jerk, but at least i am fair (or something to that effect). we had a group knuckles and the line became the reference to every joke made the remainder of the evening. so, in an attempt to be fair, i must say that rodwall and jewsbury were better than their usual on saturday.
i have been very hard on captain jack, and deservedly so–he has not performed well throughout the first seven games. when he is engaged in the game he plays like a crab, or he is either out hustled or just not interested. but credit where credit is due: excluding a few moments venturing into prime dungeness waters, jack was assured in the back and looked to push the ball along the touchline. i am sure his inclusion in the side as a rightback was as much a surprise to many as it was to me, but there was that time back in 2007-08 when he played that position, and was named the wiz’s defensive player in the process. i am not excited to think he may be our new rightback, but anything is better than reverting to palmer, or returning to steve purdy. so, for now, we can only judge him on what he does going forward.
the rodwall was finally placed in a position intended to exploit the only things he is good at: getting forward and playing offensively. however, somewhere in his time at leftback he learned to track back and assist on the defensive end. this came especially useful given chewy’s reluctance to contribute defensively. offensively, the rodwall also contributed some good interplay with the striking force when going to the byline, put in some crosses that were reasonably good, and had a very nice strike from 30 yards out parried away by gruenebaum. to summarise, i thought rodwall played a passable game in a position i felt best suited for him.
maybe relenting to increased pressure to change, or maybe he realised the timbers do not have the personnel to play a variation of 4-3-3, spencer not only made positional changes, he also employed the 4-4-2–a formation i believe plays to the current team’s strengths. post game, the gaffer was pleased with the improvement, stating
We look back to ourselves, and as I say, it’s a positive step. Obviously not the result we hoped for, but a positive step.
you know, he is right. we showed positive signs and it appeared that our creativity is on the mend and hopefully to return. nagbe was very lively, turning the opposition left and right, causing them some serious problems; it is amazing what a position change will do for a player. nagbe is not a player who excels at pushing to the byline and lofting crosses. he is not a winger and is typically marginalized from the game when placed in that role. spencer got that one right, putting nagbe in the number 10 and slotted behind boyd. he was direct, influential and lacked only the finishing touch. i am sure if he remains in that position, rather than fall subject to spencer’s ever-changing and whimsical formations, he will get on the board again.
though there was an improvement in our creative output (we created 6 shots on goal against columbus, equalling the output of the last two games, combined) and in the pressure we placed the opposition under, as the scoreline and the streak indicates, our final ball was non-existent. the gaffer also addressed that issue, stating:
We’ve got to have a little more quality in the final third. We need to get Kris Boyd better service, that’s for sure
boyd did not get perfect service, but he did get service. perfect service will not happen when players like songo’o complete only 50% of the passes attempted. a creative player of songo’o's caliber and position should have a pass completion percentage closer to 75. on saturday, songo’o was frustrating; he seemed to exchange his direct and silky play for the ever exciting, but never reliable, step over after step over after step over. while some ball skill is cute, like street dribbling is cute, in my opinion it should be limited to weekends when football is not being played–unless you are christiano ronaldo. songo’o has shown that he can be effective when taking on players, not running into them–unfortunately, the step-over forces one’s field of vision to his feet, not the players ahead of him. consequently, i felt he was one of the most wasteful players on the pitch.
had diego chara not been playing on saturday, i would likely have given the booby prize to songo’o. thankfully, chara was, or, rather, it is too bad that chara was playing. the twelve-year-old is increasingly frustrating. i doubt he knows how to make a challenge without fouling, committing 7 during this match. i think i may be correct in this one, but no player in the mls committed more fouls than the midget and it appears he is working to ensure he does not lose that distinction–he has collected 25 total this season. i am fine with a midfielder who fouls, but i do not have patience for one who continually places the team in peril due to the position of the fouls. i may believe that he is the best defensive midfield option we have, but he is not an option worthy of designated player status nor 500k per annum.
not all that exciting, but that is the state of things at the timbers.
with that, have a great day and enjoy the sun.