My fellow TAs have been telling me I should post my take on the game because my analysis is "unique" and "incisive". So here goes: my take of the key factors in the March 29 1-2 loss to Dallas.
1. Weber. Why? Ricketts had a bad moment in Colorado. But he’s saved our skin so many times, he doesn’t deserve to be benched just for one mistake. Not sure what CP was thinking here. That was probably the single most important decision given how the game turned out. I’m not saying Weber did a bad job. In fact, I think he did really well. But if we’d stopped Dallas from scoring any goals, it’d be 1-0 and PTFC would have 3 points.
2. Distribution and fissures in the team. In a game plan based on possession, it goes without saying chemistry is critical. When a team is under stress -- no doubt the Timbers are feeling stressed -- little faults in chemistry can become apparent. I’m afraid this game showed a fissure between two of the team’s youngest talents. According to the game stats, Nagbe and Powell did not once pass the ball successfully between the two of them. I don’t have any special inside knowledge on why this happened. Maybe it is a rivalry for the spotlight that has gone too far. Maybe there was an off field incident. Whatever it is, it needs to be resolved because the Timbers can’t make the game flow the way they need it to while these players are in conflict.
3. Would have been 1-1, but... Diaz’s shot that sent home the winner for Dallas was a great shot. And he made a nice move to get the opening around Kah to make the shot. But I had to wonder, because it was one that Kah normally would have gotten a foot on. I haven’t heard anyone speculate on this, so I looked into it myself. This is a hi-def screen capture of the key moment before Diaz steps to Kah’s left and releases the shot that shows conclusively why Kah lost a step on Diaz:
I assume someone on Dallas did this, but, obviously, the ref didn’t notice, and I haven’t found footage of when they got tied together. :-(.
Overall, a major improvement over last week. As the modern-day philosopher Snoop Dogg said, "Sometimes a loss is the best thing that can happen. It teaches you what you should have done next time." So I’m looking forward to the Seattle game.