The Story So Far....
The Timbers went into a hostile environment and came away with a point for their efforts. They could have easily come home with all three points, but again it’s in the late minutes of the match that the Timbers give up the lead. This time on a set piece in the 81st minute, when Juan Cabezas beat Zarek Valentin to the ball and headed into the back of the net.
Thus keeping Houston unbeaten at home.
Things will heat up again on Sunday, the forecast is for temps in the high 90’s. Though currently the forecast is saying that at kickoff (11a for those that missed the time change) it should be in the mid-70’s. Perfect temperature to lay a beating on a somewhat hapless LA Galaxy.
Sigi, Sigi, Sigi can’t you see....
One of the main stories out of LA is a change in leadership. Curt Onalfo out and former Seattle Sounders head man Sigi Schmid in. He comes in as the league heads into the final third of the season and is tasked with righting a listless ship.
Their current form is 0-5-1. The draw came against the Sounders last weekend as the match ended up in a 0-0 stalemate, Sigi’s first match on the job. I expect that Sigi will lean on the experienced veterans from here on out, with the youth taking back seat than when Onalfo was in charge.
He’ll also be charge with changing the road woes of the Galaxy. They’re trying to avoid their first three match losing streak in four years. The last time it happened in was in June of 2013.
He will also be without his Captain as Jelle Van Damme is out due to yellow card accumulation and a late red in the Sounders match - which I’m sure is good news to Darlington Nagbe. You could end up seeing Jermaine Jones(!) in the center of defence instead of his usual midfield role.
Hold The Line..
Once again in Houston the Timbers gave up the lead, this time because of dodgy set piece defending. After watching and rewatching, Valentin gets burnt by Cabezas who is just quicker to the ball that Valentin. This is actually a greater symptom of set piece defense that hasn’t been all that great this season.
I’m not sure what the Timbers need to do in that area to get better. Between set pieces and late goals the defence needs to step up and shut things down. I’m not sure what needs to happen, maybe paying more attention might be a place to start?
Speaking of the backline - Captain Liam Ridgewell has returned to training, when he’ll be able to return to the pitch isn’t known yet. Though he’s been out long enough that he’s lacking match fitness and has to get back to playing speed. I’m not holding my breath for a Ridgewell return. Things have been okay without him, sort of.
Color me impressed when he makes his way to the 18. Though I’m of the mind that he needs to earn his way back into the starting 11. Roy Miller has done a fine job pairing with Larrys Mabiala and why mess that up as they keep getting to know each other better in the center of defense.
Now if we could just get them to stop giving up late goals.
The Galaxy have two fresh signings and one made his debut during the draw against the Sounders last weekend. The debut went to dutch defender Pele van Anholt, who for 71 minutes shut down one of Seattle’s most dangerous players, Nicolas Lodeiro. This was pretty much par for the course for the dutchman. He plays right-back, which has been a revolving door of sorts with the Galaxy in the Onfalo era.
Gio dos Santos’ brother Jonathan who was signed from Villarreal in La Liga has yet to make an appearance for the Galaxy. Will he make his debut on Sunday? Honestly I have no clue, but having both on the pitch is a bit worrisome.
The Timbers are not out of the injury woods yet. Players that are out of Sunday’s contest are: Liam Ridgewell, Chance Myers, Marco Farfan. There are only two players that are questionable that’s Dairon Asprilla and Amobi Okugo. If I’m a betting man, I’d say that Asprilla might make the 18, and Okugo is still nursing a knee injury so I wouldn’t expect to see him at all.
This has been the theme all season with the Timbers, though Ridgewell like I mentioned above has returned to training. How far off is he? Well he’s not match fit at all, and that’ll take some time. Though I have the strange feeling that once he’s healthy Porter won’t hesitate to put him back in the line up.
I feel like that might be a mistake. Again like I mentioned above I’d like to see him earn his way back into the 11 - but I’m sure that’s not how Porter see’s it.