Recap: Portland Timbers Fall Flat in San Jose

Steve Dykes

The Portland Timbers look out of sync defensively and it cost them two soft goals. The goals were too hard to overcome and they lose to the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1.

Of all the teams to lose to and to have the one player I root against no matter who he is playing against score. I am coming close to swearing for the first time in years. This game was such a frustrating game.

Christian Miles, the Play by play announcer for the Portland Timbers, continually mentioned how Caleb Porter wanted to impose Portland's style on their opponents while on the road. They did not meet that goal.

From the get go the San Jose Earthquakes were able to interrupt Portland's possession with timely tackles and by cutting off the passing lanes. When they did win the ball they played route one to Adam Jahn and Steven Lenhart. Usually when they did play route one Andew Jean-Baptiste and Pa Madou Kah were able to win the initial header and even when they didn't the Timbers were also able to get to the second ball.

While route one was not working for the San Jose the quick counter down the left hand side of their formation was. San Jose continually attacked Jack Jewsbury and while they didn't always get around him they were able to get quality crosses into the box. When Portland got the ball San Jose compacted the field and essentially played their defenders 30 yards away from their forwards.

Compacting the field squeezed the passing lanes and forced the Timbers to pass the ball around the backline in their own field too often. When the did play the ball into the San Jose's half Portland's ball movement was just too slow at times. Other times they were able to get the ball into dangerous areas but the shot or the cross lacked quality.

In the second half Portland looked like they were finding their rhythm and looked to be taking over the game. Then Jewsbury forced a pass that was easily intercepted by Shea Salinas and he was able to attack a retreating Portland defense. Andrew Jean-Baptiste tried to stand him up just outside the box but when Salinas played the ball past AJB's tackle he fell to the ground.

It could be considered a PK if the foul occurred inside the penalty area but it sure looked like the contact was outside the box. Either way the terrible pass by Jewsbury when he was out of position to begin with was the first of a couple mistakes that lead to the PK.

Three minutes later Steven Lenhart had a seizure. After a foul in the 58th minute Diego Valeri was standing right in front the ball doing his best impression of Kalif Alhassan as he stood in front of the ball to force the restart whistle. However instead of staying right in front of the ball he backed off and looked to try and stop a short pass to the sideline. When he did so Salinas took a quick free kick and curled the ball into the box. Lenhart was wide open and easily put the ball past Donovan Ricketts.

After subbing out both Ryan Johnson and Ben Zemanski the Portland Timbers finally looked dangerous. They were able to pull one back on a great passing sequence but they were not able to get the second. In the end it was too little too late.

Observations

  • Portland really missed Diego Chara and his ability to read the game. Zemanski hustles but he just doesn't have Chara's sixth sense when it comes to danger.
  • It is time to sit Ryan Johnson and start Frederic Piquionne.
  • This was a perfect time to establish Portland's candidacy for the Supporter's Shield but the fell flat. What a wild weekend for MLS.
  • I hate Steven Lehart... What a dumb celebration.
  • Rodney Wallace's international call up looked like it affected him, he just looked off. Out of sync with the rest of the team.
  • I hope the team can bounce back from this lack of effort/bad game and pummel Vancouver a week from now.
  • The 1906 Ultras #SMH:
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