Is it time to panic on the 2014 Portland Timbers? Or, do we patiently wait for this team to figure itself out and, hopefully, go on a torrid run to fight their way back into the playoff race?
A run of bad luck?
A series of unfortunate events?
This team has taken 9 points in ten games with just one win. 9 points is the exact same number that John Spencer had at this point in the 2012 season. In fact, he even went on a bit of run over the next four games and took away seven points and two wins.
Where would this team be without the late heroics of Gaston Fernandez to tie in the first game of the season against Philadelphia? Or Urrutti's last minute goal to take three points away from DC United? Or Diego Valeri's last ditch effort to take a point away from the LA Galaxy?
We'd be sitting at 5 pts, that's where.
5 points if not for some miraculous goals in injury time.
This team concedes goals in the last 15 minutes as often as Taylor Swift changes boyfriends.
Darlington Nagbe hasn't scored one goal all season and he has just two assists. This is supposed to be our star player. The guy with the most talent in the league and a future member of the US Men's National Team. Right now, he couldn't start for Trinidad and Tobago's national team.
With a formation that only plays one forward, the Timbers need goal productivity from their mid-fielders and they are not getting it.
Is this our future? A series of ties while Caleb Porter attempts to control the tempo of the game?
Porter stubbornly absolutely refuses to change tactic or formations. It's the same 4-5-1 line-up as last year. Problem is, teams have figured out this formation and how to beat him (or, at a minimum, tie). The recipe for competing with the Timbers is quite simple and was executed superbly by the LA Galaxy. Press very high and don't allow the defensive players to settle the ball; play a high defensive line to shorten the field, press in the wingers to compact the field even more and don't allow the mid-fielders any space or time.
Team's are daring us to play a high line with the forward(s)and counter and we're not doing it.
I'd love to see him bring Nagbe as a true second forward and get off the wing. Yes, it would mean giving up one of our defensive mid-fielders (most likely Johnson), but Will isn't quite the same player he was last year. Heck, I'd even like for Jewsbury to be a stopper and playing behind Nagbe and bring Johnson or Powell as the right defender.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is just a bad spell and this team can turn it around with their current tactics. But, after a horrible pre-season and an awful 10 games to start the season, we can't blame bad luck for very much longer. If this continues for another 2-3 games, changes will need to be made. We'll see how Porter can adjust.