Mercifully the end of the year is in sight as Portland only has one road game and one home game left. If Portland wins both of the games they would finish 6 points off of there 2011 Point total of 42 points. Getting to 36 would require a road win and we have all know how well Portland has played on the road.
Since we have almost a whole season to look back on lets take a look at how Portland has to play in order to win at Vancouver.
For this home win Portland really controlled the pace of the game and Darlington Nagbe was a thorn in the side of the Vancouver defense. Franck Songo'o was the good Franck and worked hard on both sides of the ball and scored on a free kick. The offense flowed and for the most part the defense played well except for 1 mistake.
After a good showing at San Jose the Timbers went to RSL and laid an egg in the first half. Both of the goals did come on set pieces and not during the run of play but both fouls were fouls that were unneeded. The lone goal for Portland was the bright spot in a pedestrian game for most players. If Portland plays like they did against RSL they may have a shot at a tie but not a win.
And The Ugly
There were so many to choose from (I am not going to subjugate you to the last road game.)...
52 second in and Colorado had already hit the post after easily blowing by Kosuke Kimura and this was just the beginning. Portland was flat and looked like they were completely lost defensively. Offensively Portland didn't even sniff the box let alone the goal.
So now what?
Looking at just those few games really doesn't give me a lot of confidence going into this road game. From the three videos above you can see how inconsistent Portland has been. In order for Portland to win they need to play their best game on the road since the last time Portland visited Vancouver.
The Defense can't have any mistakes and they need to communicate in order to keep their shape. Steven Smith needs to start and if we see Rodney Wallace he needs to be playing at LM not LB. Nagbe needs to find his "Alpha Male" attitude and take over this game. Diego Chara needs to be a disruptive force in the middle of the pitch, especially with the midfield players Vancouver has.
My heart says Portland eeks out the 1-0 win on the road but my head says the only logical outcome is a loss and a bad one at that.