Game 2 Observations, suggestions

The definition of madness is trying the same thing and expecting different results.

To be fair to the Timbers' coaching staff, it's hard to give up on your first 11 after one bad game, especially when options are limited, but I thought and hoped there would be some sort of change, either in personnel or formation.

All things considered though, the Timbers played much, much better than against Colorado, which tells you how bad the first match really was.  The biggest difference was the possession.  While still shaky, the ball moved from side to side much better and the midfield played some balls into the forwards' feet in space.

The Timbers' were also getting a lot better looks at goal.  In fact, the Timbers had more shots (one less on goal), and nine (9!) corner kicks.  And this is the first problem; the Timbers' service is absolutely awful.  Jewsbury could barely clear the first defender on his corners and free kicks, and if he did, it sailed over everybody.  This poor service didn't end with free kicks, as the run of play crossing from the outside were poor as well.  Both the outside backs and midfielders played poor balls in the air.

Unfortunately, one of the Timbers' best corners of the day (not saying much) led to Toronto's second goal from a counter attack.  It was a great finish by Martina and even better outlet by the Toronto GK, as Timbers GK Gleeson's tiny indecision put him just out of position.

Toronto's first goal was also well taken.  The Timbers' back four did what it was supposed to do, but Martina's darting run was read late by Jeremy Hall as Martina slotted it home.   The Timbers did a good job doubling the ball in the box, but DeRosario made a great pass to find the cutting Martina, it was like a well executed basketball play out of the post up hitting a cutting man to the hoop.

While the Timbers played better, there are still some personnel issues.  Goldthwaite was again beaten and out of position.  He did have some better moments, but his mistakes far outweigh his contributions.  I would like to see Horst take this spot and give Danso some run when he is available. It seemed the Timbers defenders were caught flat footed when balls were played back.  The first touch was always played into trouble (mostly towards the center of the pitch) when the defender should open up their body and play to their outside backs or midfielders.  Could it be a fitness issue?

Wallace's defending on the left side still needs some work, but you could really see him getting into the attack against Toronto, and he already looked a lot more comfortable.  Purdy wasn't as solid as last weekend, but he also found some space forward.  I really like Brunner, he made a few mistakes, but he really gets in the thick of things and looks to be the only one talking back there.

In the midfield, Lowry was bad once again.  Jewsbury was slow, but more effective going forward.  This is the biggest weakness on the field, and there aren't many options.  I still think Hall in the middle makes sense, or at least seeing Marcelin.  Can it really get worse than Lowry?  He doesn't provide athleticism, poise or a good ball winning mentality. He must dominate in practice.

Pore and Hall were both better this week, especially once they switched flanks late in the first half.  It is obvious to me that Hall is more comfortable on the right and Pore is more comfortable on the left to cut in on his right. When Sal Zizzo checked in, it was an immediate step up in quality.  His pace, service and poise, even with a few rusty plays, was the best we've seen in the midfield so far this year.  I'd hate to "waste" him in the middle of the park, but he is certainly an option. Still though, his presence on the outside is hard to substitute, he will absolutely be a starter next week.  Still awaiting a status update on Nagbe who will most likely fill the left side of the lineup card once he is healthy.

Up front, Cooper and Perlaza once again showed promise.  Still not getting as many opportunities as you'd like to see, Timbers fans should be confident.  Although, there were a couple opportunities for Perlaza to take guys on, especially in the box.  Umony was decent off the pine as well, but really only offered a less skilled version of Perlaza.

As far as the next match goes, I would hope that the Timbers don't trot out with the same lineup.  Although I am not against putting your best eleven on the field to win every match, I think the Open Cup is a good opportunity to get some players one the bench some decent playing time against a quality team at "home."  This, in a  competition that really doesn't matter this year.  I hate to say it, but the Timbers should not be concerned with winning the Open Cup.  Use it as a chance to develop.  The priority should be the MLS season.  We aren't going to win either cup this year, so I'd like to see the Timbers working on development.

Quick player ratings (out of 10);

GK-Adin Brown 6.0 - no mistakes

        SUB-Gleeson 5.5 made a few great stops, but misread the second goal

RB- Purdy - 5.0 average all around 

CB- Brunner - 6.0 Solid all around 

CB- Goldthwaite - 3.5 got beat numerous times, out of position

LB - Wallace - 5.0 Got forward well, still diving in too much on D

RM - Pore - 4.0 Was much better when playing on the left, but still hasn't produced much

         SUB - Zizzo 5.5- Attacked well, used pace and tenacity, a little rusty.

CM - Lowry 3.0 - made a few good tackles, completed a pass or two, didn't hold/cover when Jewsbury pushed up

CM - Jewsbury 4.5 - Better in possession, slow to recover when pushed up front, poor service on free kick/corners

LM - Hall - 4.5 better service, good run/shot from the right side of midfield.  Still not composed enough

ST - Perlaza - 5.0 reluctant to go at goal.  Made good runs and kept possession.

        SUB - Umony - 3.5 ran around a lot

ST - Cooper- 5.0 plays with relentless tenacity, didn't find himself with many opportunities

Until next week.

Alright guys, I don't believe I have to say this but, just in case, please do not submit anything racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise not appropriate for even the younger Timbers fans.

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