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Post-slab pint: Timbers 2-1 LAFC

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The Timbers complete the season sweep over LAFC after a third 2-1 win over the California club. What was good and what was bad about the performance?

MLS: Portland Timbers at Los Angeles FC Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the post-slab pint, where I break down the good and the bad (pint in hand) from the previous Timbers game.

In this installment, I’ll be talking about the Timbers’ 2-1 road victory over LAFC that came just four days after the 6-1 demolition of Real Salt Lake.

So, what did I like about the result?

The Timbers completed the season sweep over LAFC, winning all three games by a score of 2-1. It’s always good to beat in-conference teams at any point in the season, but it becomes a lot more important when the team in question is rivaling you for a playoff spot. The Timbers took nine points from a possible nine against LAFC this season and now sit 10 points above them in a Western Conference in which six points currently separate fourth place from seventh.

The Timbers’ Colombian forwards continued their red-hot form in front of goal. Yimmi Chara notched his second goal in as many games and Asprilla scored in his third straight match as the Timbers’ counterattacking continued to dazzle. With news of Felipe Mora’s call-up to the Chilean national team for the October international window, it will be extremely important for Chara and Asprilla to continue creating and scoring chances for the Timbers if the club wants to continue their impressive unbeaten run.

Portland brought their goal difference to 0. Normally, I’d scoff at someone boasting about a goal-difference of 0, but after the start the Timbers defense had, it’s nothing short of miraculous at this point in the season.

I’ll admit, it’s difficult to find negatives after a week that saw the Timbers take six points from a possible six and out-score their opponents 8-2 — however, there are still a couple of things that the Timbers should be wary about moving forward.

Sebastian Blanco left the field in the 53rd minute of the match with what looked like a left knee injury. Blanco has been nothing short of sensational since his return from injury in mid-June and he is possibly the biggest factor in the Timbers’ current seven-match unbeaten streak. To see him leave the field holding the same knee that kept him out for nearly a year was deeply troubling — both for his own well-being and that of the team. Giovanni Savarese confirmed today in his pre-game press conference that Blanco is questionable for the Timbers next match against Inter Miami, but that the injury is not a long-term concern for the team.

The clean sheet once again evades the Timbers after another avoidable defensive mistake. After Bill Tuiloma’s misplaced header that led to RSL’s lone goal last Saturday, the Timbers once again were the masters of their own defensive downfall in the lead-up to LAFC’s lone goal last night. After Dario Zuparic dispossessed Kim Moon-Hwan on the edge of the Timbers’ 18’ and sent Blanco away on the counter, Cristhian Paredes ran into Jose Cifuentes, who was then able to slip Danny Musovski in on goal with one pass, before the latter slotted past Steve Clark. Mistakes like these are, more often than not, punished at this level and cannot happen for a team that is looking to make a deep playoff push.

The Timbers conceded double-digit shots and crosses for the third consecutive game. Again, I understand that the Timbers are unbeaten in seven, but I’m not sure that “bend, don’t break” is a solid contingency plan for the defense moving forward. In total, the Timbers have conceded 46 shots and 55 crosses over the last three games, so it’s pretty surprising they only conceded three goals in that time.

All told, it was a really good week for the Timbers, whose focus now shifts to a home clash with Inter Miami at 2:30 PM on Sunday, Oct. 3. Leave us a comment and let us know what you liked and disliked about the third and final 2-1 win against LAFC in 2021.