What's New? Another Game, Another Letdown

What do you expect at this point?

The Portland Timbers once again disappointed. On tonight's show, they were outplayed by a team that won't exist in six months - the same team they beat 5-0 on the road in the final regular season game of 2013.

Ah, how the mighty have fallen.

It was the Timbers 1, Chivas USA 1 Saturday night at Providence Park. If you're keeping score at home and haven't gouged your eyes out, that's four home games with no wins, and six games winless on the year with away games at Real Salt Lake and Houston looming.

Caleb Porter will know those stats. He knows all the stats. At least that's one thing we're still sure of about the once vaunted coach, who has disappointed more than any player so far in this wayward 2014 campaign.

There were boos at the final whistle tonight, after a 96-minute slog in which the Timbers were out-possessed by a team with no owner, but wait until the team takes the field at home again on May 2nd, when it's likely they will be winless after two months of the season.

By that point, people will be throughly tired of Porter's matter-of-fact, sighing, emotionless post-game press conferences in which he grabs all the credit he can find in a poor performance and throws everything else out with the two points his team gives away every week.

Also: You will be forgiven for drawing 4-4 much more quickly than for drawing 1-1, and while it may be harder to fix offensive problems than defensive problems, it's easier to compensate for defensive problems than offensive ones.

Portland got an early goal in this game, and it look for a moment like the rout may be on. It was a terrific goal: Interplay between Maxi Urruti and Darlington Nagbe culminating in a layoff for Will Johnson who rifled home his first of the season.

He was really the only attacking player who was a threat. He hit the side netting and clattered a free-kick off the post in stoppage time, but other than that, Portland didn't threaten.

Instead, it was Chivas USA who commanded possession, while Porter's least favorite son Andrew Jean-Baptiste somehow looked totally competent as a fullback.

The Goats played their way into the game after conceding, and were reasonably well-positioned throughout the match to score. But for the most part, Portland's defense looked good overall after the shambolic display against Seattle.

Futty Danso played a spotless game. His calm presence at the back, physical presence and ability to distribute were welcome. Pa Kah was solid too, as was Michael Harrington.

As for Alvas Powell, let's just say the kid isn't ready yet.

Why is Powell in the game? He's fast. And it's important to be fast in soccer, especially when you're constantly getting beat the entire game and have to make up ground quickly. But there's a lot more to soccer than fast, something Jack Jewsbury knows all about.

Jewsbury has to play. It's simple.

Powell is a total liability defensively, and he was terrible on offense too. He was always going to get beat for at least one goal.

It was Leandro Barrera who got by Powell and slipped in an unmarked Erik Torres who scored the equalizer just after the 70th minute. It had been a long time coming.

The Timbers were meek. So very meek.

Caleb Porter's sucked the lifeblood out the of the team when he threw on Gaston Fernandez for Kalif Alhassan after just 60 minutes. Alhassan wasn't lighting the world on fire, but his positional play and work in tight spaces was strong.

Porter's lack of faith in Alhassan long-term is troubling. More troubling is that Fernandez was his only substitution, and even as the game slipped away, the coach remained motionless.

I don't know how many more times I can write this, but, the Timbers actually re-signed Frederic Piquionne for a hefty sum, and he remains to this day ready to come into the game. Steve Zakuani too.

Instead, we got 90 minutes of Maxi "Three Times Offsides in 30 Seconds" Urruti, who maybe had four touches the entire second half.

All in all, it was a flat performance from the Timbers. They somehow played an entire home-game against an opponent with less talent without the ball, on the back-foot. It was certainly one of Portland's worst home games in the Porter era.

Yes, Chivas USA are much improved. Carlos Bocanegra was immense. The team has some spirit. But these were the same guys that got mauled 3-0 by LA at home last weekend. Chivas won't matter by early September - and they just outplayed the Timbers.

It hasn't helped that Portland hasn't made a single good personnel move since Kah was signed last spring.

And for those of you asking for a DP-caliber center-back, the Timbers had a guy named Mikael Silvestre... and they released him. Apparently he wasn't "mentally" fit. Ironic.

Four of the Timbers' next five are against probable playoff teams. I'm not seeing wins on the upcoming schedule.

Portland's last victory was November 7th, 2013 against Seattle. It's been all downhill since then.

Alright guys, I don't believe I have to say this but, just in case, please do not submit anything racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise not appropriate for even the younger Timbers fans.

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