Portland Timbers Matchday Postscript: Porter's First Loss

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers once again controlled possession and created a plethora of shots, but, also once again, they were undone by weakness and poor communication at the back.

By the Numbers

27.8: Percentage of shots by opposing teams that have gone for goals in the Timbers' first two matches.

14.5: Highest goals/shots percentage that any MLS team posted in 2012. (Thanks, Chris Rifer, for that tidbit -- he wrote a great post this past week about why this is so troubling.)

60: Number of turnovers by Diego Valeri over his first two matches.

24*: Number of open play crosses attempted by the Timbers against Montreal (one of which resulted in the Timbers' goal)

0: Combined years of MLS coaching experience accrued by the coaches of the Timbers' first two opponents of the regular season.

(* denotes numbers provided by Mike Donovan, now covering the Timbers for Soccer By Ives (congratulations, Mike!))

Moment of the Match

Montreal's second goal gave Timbers fans a first look at something we're going to see a lot of unless the Timbers players improve their communication in transition. The Timbers set up in their usual high press formation, relying on two CBs and two DMs to get the ball to the halfway line, the fullbacks already at the halfway line. Montreal saw an opportunity to push men forward and try to force an error, which they did, inducing an errant pass out of Will Johnson.

The Montreal Impact quickly responded, sending three attackers immediately past the Timbers' midfield, with only two CBs to cover them. An accurate through ball sent Andres Romero to the endline at the edge of the penalty area, drawing Silvestre out of the center and leaving Andrew Jean-Baptiste to cover the two remaining attackers, di Vaio and Felipe. Will Johnson could have redeemed himself here by covering Felipe, but he failed to see the play developing in time.

A neat cross to Felipe gave the Brazilian a gimme from six yards.

The way the Timbers set up their formation from the back leaves little room for error, and when the errors do happen, the transition back to defense must be much faster and more organized. To me, that's on either keeper Donovan Ricketts and Captain Will Johnson to see the play developing and better communicate with teammates, or it's on Caleb Porter to recognize the team's defensive deficiencies and play with a slightly more cautious, defensive posture. I'm hoping for the former, but we may see the latter happening soon.

Injuries and Suspensions

Again, the Timbers have no injuries or suspensions to report out of last night's match, but Darlington Nagbe did receive his first booking as a professional. Congratulations!

Around the League

Vancouver Whitecaps 2:1 Columbus Crew: The Whitecaps took six points from their season-opening homestand, thanks to a terrific strike from distance by Daigo Kobayashi that looped just over the reach of Andy Gruenebaum in the sixth minute. Kenny Miller sealed the deal early in the second half.

Toronto FC 2:1 Sporting Kansas City: Last year's worst team stunned one of last year's best, with a brace from Robert Earnshaw, on loan from Cardiff City. SKC is not the same without Roger Espinoza.

DC United 1:0 Real Salt Lake: Luis Gil and RSL controlled possession but failed to create many shots on target (just two) and were ultimately undone by a second ball off a corner kick.

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