Game Flow: The Timbers can't Overcome an Early Conceded Goal

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers played a home match that was reminiscent of all the other home matches. Give up the early goal and chase the game until they get the equalizer.

1' - 10': This game started a little differently than last Tuesday's; this time it was the Portland Timbers on the front foot with Sporting Kansas City playing a little more conservatively. However, Sporting was not sitting deep like Portland was and they held more possession. With that possession they created some dangerous chances that gave Portland some trouble.

Portland's offense stalled when they were not able to transition quickly into the offensive third because Sporting compacted their lines and held their defensive shape. This made it hard for Portland to find Diego Valeri or Fanendo Adi.

10'- SKC goal:Once Sporting survived the initial energy from Portland they settled into a nice rhythm and started to control the tempo of the game. After a while, Portland started to find the ball and possessed it for long stretches. 80% of the possession were passes between the back four of Portland, and very few were forward into dangerous areas. Sporting did earn quite a few set piece opportunities in the opening 25 minutes of the game and each of them looked dangerous. Especially the long throw ins, which is exactly what Sporting scored on.

SKC Goal- Half:Neither side's tactics changed after the goal. Sporting still sat deep with all of their lines compact and with good defensive shape. Portland possessed the ball only near the center circle. This continued for much of the rest of the half and admittedly it was not a pretty game of soccer. A lot of starts and stops.

Restart- Game Over:The second started exactly like the first half ended. Sporting sat back and allowed Portland possession in the back and looked for a set-piece or counter to score on. Portland did find the seams in the defense but the quality in the final ball was lacking and nothing forced a save from Eric Kronberg, the Sporting Goalkeeper.

Portland was able on numerous occasions to get the attack into the final third but Sporting's defense was stout, they were able to keep their defensive shape and subsequently keep Portland out of the goal. As the clock approached 90 minutes, the Timbers became more and more frantic and started to press for the goal. They threw numbers forward and lobbed balls into the box. Nothing was making it past the 4 Sporting defenders. Everything they tried was stymied by a great defensive game plan and defensive shape.

Observation:

  • Will Johnson was invisible for the first half. Rarely did he get on the ball and had very little influence on the defensive side.

  • Adi is too Stronk. Colin tried to be physical with him and he did not move at all. The Timbers of course over relied on Adi...

  • Really disappointing game and offensive showing. The rest did not look like it helped the Timbers at all.

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