3 shutouts in 4 games is good, and Goals Against is admittedly the most important statistic for a defense, but look what's happening:
- In the last 8 games, Timbers only out shot their opponents against CLB (15 v 8) and NE (13 v 9)
- For the other six games, Timbers are out shot by an average of 5.1
- In the last 4 games (excluding CLB) that number is 5.3, in the four before that (excluding NE), it's 5.
- In the last four games, the Timbers gave up an average of 14 shots per game.
- In the four games before, they gave up an average of 14.5 shots.
- In the last 8 games, Timbers have been out possessed in all games except Chivas and NE (neither in the last 4 games).
- In the last four games Timbers have been out possessed by an average of -12.5 % (43.75% vs. 56.25%)
- In the four games before, the average was -1.5% (49.25% vs 50.75%)
- In the last 8 games, Perkins has averaged 3.6 saves.
- In the last 4 games, he averaged only 3
- In the four before, he averaged 4.25
In the last 4 games, the Timbers are allowing the same number of total shots (on average) as in the previous 4, and when they're out shot, it's by an average of about 5 across all 8 games (almost no difference when you split it 4 and 4). Not much improvement on defense there.
In the last 4 games, the Timbers have held the ball less than in the previous 4. So we've invited more pressure.
Curiously, despite all of this, Perkins' avg. number of saves has gone down in the last 4 games.
Our Goals Against average has dropped from 2.25 per game to .5 per game, when looking at the last 4 games vs. the 4 before that. At the same time, however, our Goals For average has gone from 1 to .25 (thanks to Chance Meyer's own goal; otherwise it's 0).
What does this all mean? Spencer's "tactical" shift is to park the bus, plain and simple. More bodies in the box (including the likes of Boyd and Nagbe) means fewer shots get to Perkins and fewer go in. It also means we give up possession and score less.
We're just robbing Peter to pay Paul.