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Denver away: The View from the Dick

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The Portland Timbers first starting 11.  (Photo by Michael Martin/Getty Images)
The Portland Timbers first starting 11. (Photo by Michael Martin/Getty Images)
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The Recap:

There is only one sentence to describe this game: The Portland Timbers played nervous.

The first half was not even close to what it needed to be, The Timbers had two defense lapses that completely cost us the game. The first 15 minutes the Timbers played like it was their first game ever and boy did our left side get eaten up and spit out by the Colorado Rapids offensive machine. 

All three of the Rapids goals originated on the left side of the field. Omar Cummings absolutely feasted on our defensive miscues. Every through ball they gave him he beat the defenders to the line and then had the Timbers scrambling.

More after the Jump.

The Timbers were lucky to make it to the half only down by 3. Every time the Timbers pushed forward the ball was almost instantaneously given back to the Rapids or punted so far up the field it was a waste of energy. With the lack of possession or build up the Rapids were able to keep a constant pressure on the Portland defense. Not only were the Timbers not able to string passes together but the outside mids were unable to hit a pass to save their lives. If there was a number greater than infinity it would be needed to describe how many passes the outside mids missed. Even with all the bad defense the Timbers showed in the first half Jorge Perlaza had a chance to really put the Timbers back in the game but missed the chip over the keeper. 

After the half the Timbers finally showed some composure and could string some passes together in the midfield but still not enough in the final third of the field. All of passes in the final third were flick ons or cheeky passes that were immediately absorbed and shoved back down the throats of the Timbers. However the additions of David Horst and Adam Moffat seemed to shore up the defensive woes, or the talking to that coach John Spencer gave the team worked.

After some probing runs from Steve Purdy and some more composure on the ball we started to see some decent efforts in the final third. However it wasn't until a foul was called just off center and about 30-35 yards out that the Timbers finally scored their first MLS goal. However it was too little too late as the Colorado Rapids went on to win the game 3-1. 

The Timbers lost the first half 3-0 but won the second half 1-0.

The Fan Experience

The Colorado Rapids supporters groups were gracious hosts as they hosted an amazing party (according to those who attended) Friday at the British Bulldog. Today the supporters' group also hosted the TA with an awesome Tailgate with a slow roasted pig and for those who are drinkers, 7 kegs.

The gates opened an hour before kick off and the TA had already filled their 2 sections and started chanting while no other section held more that 15 fans and that included the Rapids supporter sections. (I will have more pics and videos to upload as I get them off of mine or my brothers cameras/phones) Finally with 5 minutes after the game the stands had enough people to call a good crowd, for our U-23 PDL team. Colorado had a late, and I mean a late arriving crowd and they were presenting the MLS Cup!

The TA chanted non stop from the first minute they entered the Dick until 15 mins after everyone left from the stadium. In fact the security guards had to come and ask the TA to leave. I mean check this photo out. 

Some small stories before I get to what the Timbers and John Spencer had to say in the Locker room.

The Colorado security and other event staff, even those who were working the VIPs, kept coming by and taking pictures of us as if they were had never seen true supporters before. The Security guard also came up to our section and told me personally that he has been in charge of all the supporters that visit the Dick and the TA is by far the best supporters he has ever seen. One Rapids supporter said to another "Why aren't we as organized as they are?" To that he responded "Cause they have been around for 40 years"

Finally one Rapids supporter was saying to all the other supporters filing out of the Dick "Are we not Rapids? Are we not Rapids? I mean look we are all leaving and there are the Portland supporters over there still standing and chanting. Come on!"

Notes from the Postgame:

Question to John Spencer: What did you say to the team down 3-0 at the half:

What do you say? You try and pick them up. When you are down and your playing in front of the public, the paying public, the cameras there you have to have a belief in yourself a belief that you belong on the field. If you don't have that belief that desire, even if you are not playing well the guy who's playing against you you got to try and stop him. In a better game you got to be more physical than him, you got to run harder than him. I just thought the first 45 minutes tonight we lacked a little bit of that. 

Question to Kevin Goldthwaite: How do you feel about what happened tonight?

 It sucks to lose but you got to know that this is one game. Got to improve in a lot of areas.

All in all the Locker room was somber and everyone did looked unhappy and even somewhat dejected.

Observations:

 

  • Ryan Pore did not look like he was ready for the MLS, a step slow and unable to take the physical nature of the Colorado team, hopefully he can show us an improved form when he next gets a chance.
  • Purdy looked amazing on the right and if Sal Zizzo was available for this game we may have had a dangerous attack.
  • Rodney Wallace and Jeremy Hall looked out of sync, they looked nothing like teammates that won a NCAA championship together.
  • Jack Jewsbury did everything he could to disrupt the Rapids' center mids and succeeded for the most part. He also did a good job of denying Conor Casey the ball.
  • Brunner was the Defensive star for the Timbers
  • You could see Kenny Cooper wanted this so bad for the team, he tried to do as much as he could but since he had very little balls played to him he could only influence the game so much.
  • Perlaza was ineffective at winning the outlet pass and then laying it off to Cooper.
  • The Timbers lacked focus and energy in the First Half.

Now for the Bright side:

  • We have scored, check that off the list.
  • We played the defending champs and were shown what it actually takes to compete in the MLS
  • We play Toronto FC next who lost to Vancouver Whitecaps 4-2 so we have a chance to right the ship.
PS Colorado has yet to sell out the season opener and this year was the best attended opener ever with 17,139 (1000 less than capacity).