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Let's Talk About Substitutions a Little Bit

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Over the past week, our club has pulled off a miracle when everybody thought we were doomed to be the bottom dwellers of the league: we won twice in a row against more favored opponents to bring us from dead last to fourth in the West. Still there's a growing trend happening currently where our team scores and does well up until the last 20 minutes or so when our defensive backline just sort of crumbles to a wave of desperate offensive strikes. To be quite honest, we were lucky against both the Chicago Fire and FC Dallas in that we were able to score so many goals against them early on. When playing against Real Salt Lake, or the Los Angeles Galaxy we probably won't get nearly as many chances.

Which leads me to the topic at hand: why, even after the Timbers have scored so many goals, is John Spencer subbing in more attacking minded players? I'm not here to question John Spencer's tactics. Obviously he knows a hundred times more about the strengths and weaknesses of the team than I do. But from a purely observation stand point what we saw yesterday after the 80th minute was a tired, ragged, and unorganized defense that could have desperately used a shot of energy.

 

Granted Sunday's game was an unusual event given that the guys had less than 72 hours rest before they had to play again, still when you have that large of a lead in soccer, it's just always been my experience that, at a certain point, you pull back and rally the defense. Instead, John Spencer put in Darlington Nagbe, Sal Zizzo, and Eddie Johnson; two attacking midfielders and a striker. Wouldn't it have made more sense to put in Kevin Goldthwaite instead of Eddie Johnson? Was Jorge Perlaza really that tired?

I guess, in the end, these kinds of questions will probably never get answered. Still it makes you wonder. Against a team that played very well in 2010, has the 2010 league MVP, and had both the higher possession percentage and better passing accuracy for the duration of the game it only makes sense to me that defense should be key after a certain point.