Portland vs New England: Portland Creates More Questions Than Answers

Quick Recap:

Ugly game which starts exactly how the Portland Timbers didn't want to start as the New England Revolution score 30 seconds into the game. Portland then was never able to claw back into the game and go down 1-0 in front of an empty stadium.

First Half:

Not sure what was in the minds of the Timbers from the first whistle but it obviously wasn't about playing soccer. New England played a long switch across and Kalif Alhassan meandered over to give token pressure. The ball was then played into the box where both Eric Brunner and Hanyer Mosquera lost track of Saer Sene who punished the Timbers for that mistake. It was exactly the start Portland did not want and the start New England needed. From that point on it was all about controlling the game for New England.

Portland did not respond well this time to being a goal down. There was very little possession in the first 15 minutes of the game and none of the crosses found any Timbers player and did not clear the first defender. Every opportunity Portland could have created in the first half was lacking quality and seemed forced. When they did get their chances they still lacked that quality. Even Kris Boyd had an off day as he had one wide open goal in the first half after Shalrie Joseph fell to the ground but Boyd's header was wide of the goal.

In the First half the wing play was abysmal. Every time the ball was played to the wings, Eric Alexander especially, the ball was either played back putting the defender into a tough position or the wing was dispossessed easily. This lack of production form the wings put pressure on the outside backs and the CMs not only to produce almost all of the attack but to cover defensively after the wings lost the ball.

24 minutes into the game another set-back occurred as Mosquera collided with a New England player while trying to go up for a header and fell to the ground in obvious pain. He would be transported to a local hospital to be treated for facial injuries, specifically his nose.

Second Half:

The second half played much like the first in the early going with Portland unable to find any rhythm while New England looked to disrupt any attack Portland had. For New England they were able find their play makers on the wing and in the middle to apply pressure to Portland's backline. Thankfully Portland was able to deal with any chances they created in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

Portland just seemed to be lacking something on either wing as ball after ball was played to our wings with little to show for it. It wasn't until Franck Songo'o came in in the 60th minute for Alexander that the Timbers started to look dangerous on the wings. Songo'o brought a little more skill on the ball and desire to take people one on one.

With the renewed energy Songo'o brought the Timbers looked like a different team. They passed the ball around, they switched the field and actually hit some dangerous crosses into the box. Chances started to come and the pressure was starting to mount. Despite all of this Portland still lacked the quality with the final ball. Shots were hit right at Matt Reis or wide open headers were missed wide.

In the end Portland did not deserve the goal as they just did not do enough offensively to create one. With this loss Portland created even more questions than answers. Until they prove they can go out and win on the road or at least show they can play well on the road this team will not be a play off team.

Observations:

  • Alhassan played more in the middle of the field than on the wing until the second half. Probably the worst game from Alhassan this year, including preseason.
  • Alexander was lost for the second game in a row and just is not combining well with Wallace on the left.
  • I can't remember how many times I thought or yelled at the TV the phrase "Cross the ball!". Boyd needs more service to have opportunities to score.
  • A deflating loss after all the momentum built up after the first two games. Now they have to get the momemtum back playing against one of the hottest teams in RSL.
  • Portland can't drop points to the East as this only helps every team in the West.
  • I just felt disgusted by this game. Portland came out flat and really did not show a playoff team mentality.
What do you think? Rant in the comments.
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