as the week goes on it becomes easier to stomach last weekend’s result. not that it is a moment i want to relive with my children, when i have children, but the perspective gained over the last few days has treated the nausea and the shivering and i think, much like the timbers, i will survive. gloria gaynor references aside, we have played only 5 games and this recent run of form cannot persist.
the arsenal started their current campaign under similar circumstances as that of the timbers, drawing the toon, losing 2 nil to liverpool, losing 8-2 to manure and then losing 2-1 to the scum after going ahead. after the first month of play, arsenal was in 17th place and if they continued in the form they were in they would have been relegated to the championship. it took one game, a massive 5-3 win away at stamford bridge against chelsea, to turn their season around and propel them into their current position at 3rd in the premiership.
bad runs happen, and it only takes one game to change the course of a season. do i think the timbers have the personel to make a run similar to what arsenal did? no, but i also do not believe that with the current squad they should be rated at 16th and 18th. with a few key changes to tactics and a few additions to the squad, i think they should find themselves right where i envisioned they would be: smack dab in the middle. to think they would be anything but in the middle is unrealistic and unfair to the side.
that does not excuse their persistence to trip over themselves. far from it. what any supporter wants to see from the timbers is conviction and execution. we get that better teams exist, that sometimes lesser teams hit stunning goals, but what we do not accept is losing due to mental and tactical breakdowns. those losses are preventable.
in attempts to address some of the issues surrounding the timbers and their inevitable defensive breakdowns, gavin has sought some new wingbacks. he has searched high, he has searched low, and the players he came up with are not necessarily the answers i was hoping for (still holding out for kerrea gilbert and i hear gavin hoyte is available)…but they are possibilities nonetheless.
first in is brett evans, who put in a shift with the reserves on tuesday night. evans is a 30 year old, left back from south africa. he has a few caps for the national team and, from what i saw in his promotional video, has an eye for a pass. his defending looked suspect, but it was you tube and you tube scouting never really gives a fella the best understanding of a player’s overall abilities.
in addition to evans, gavin has gone after austrian right back, andreas dober. you can call him andi, for short. dober comes to us from rapid wein (a personal issue no man should ever admit to a prospective suitor), and is better known for his inability to defend against teammates stealing his nutella than his on pitch performance. a note to andi: if you are going to cross check from behind, you had better be able to drop gloves or be able kick the ball through your opponent’s head. all kidding aside, he looks as if he may know how to put his own head to good use. those clips aside, you would be hard pressed to find someone out there to say they had any further knowledge about his play.
while i have reserved my opinions on the possible additions, i am excited to see that gavin is out looking (though my trust in his scouting is limited)–but i still feel these issues should have been sorted this winter. after last season, we all knew the bigger issues with the side were to be found in the defense, in particular the wingbacks. it is frustrating that it has taken these results we have had to stomach in order to get gavin and merritt back into the market. the fact gavin is out looking can only assure us supporters and many of the squad that the front staff want to put together a winning side and it will certainly light a fire under a select few. as i wrote earlier this week, competition is a good thing. i simply hope gavin is not out bargain shopping and is actually bringing in players that can help the timbers challenge in games this season.
ultimately, the recent form will change, must change, and the person bringing this team together understands that: spencer is not panicking.
I’ve been in the game too long. I’ve been in the game as a professional since 1986. I’ve seen every situation that has ever been seen, ups and downs. And to start panicking after four or five games of the season, you’ve got to be off your head.
the fact is he is right. what type of message is sent to the players and the fans if he panics now? we have lost 3 games and we will likely lose more throughout the year; however, no team would respond positively to a manager that threw in the towel after 5 games. never happen. and, if at this moment it is for the team to correct itself, spencer must remain steadfast in his beliefs in his players…well, certain players. and if those players cannot perform consistently over the next few games then it will be time to bring in further personel that can and will. hopefully a little bit of both can occur by this weekend.
with that, have a great day.