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Six Degrees: Yet Another Road Fiasco

Galaxy 4, Timbers 1

MLS: Portland Timbers at LA Galaxy Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A 4-1 loss at Dallas, a 3-0 loss at Philadelphia, a 4-1 loss at Austin, and now a 4-1 loss at the Galaxy. This shit is really getting old.

1) The irony of Friday’s blowout loss to the Galaxy is that we actually started the game like a house on fire. We honestly could’ve been up 3-0 at one point.

That’s a helluva lot of good chances, right? A ball getting caught in the spokes here, an off-target shot there, a few near-misses thrown into the mix, and you’ve got a lot of really great soccer, but no goals to show for it. The Timbers didn’t do their normal thing of coming out cold. They came out flying, they just couldn’t close the deal. If they had, I’d be writing a very different column right now.

2) But they didn’t, and in the 27th minute, the Galaxy made them pay.

There’s not much for me to say here. A bicycle kick in the middle of traffic is pretty much the definition of a golazo. What are you gonna do? The only thing you can do is try to answer quickly.

3) And, oh boy, did the Timbers answer quickly. 80 seconds later, to be exact.

Wonderful goal, just wonderful. Great touch pass from Diego Valeri, nice cross through traffic from Yimmi Chara, and then Jeremy Ebobisse puts former teammate Jorge Villafaña in the spin cycle, moving from his left foot to his right and then back to his left before putting it just inside the right post. An utterly professional finish from Jebo.

So that made it 1-1, and just a minute later, we were a double save away from going up 2-1.

So there you go. The opening 30 minutes were pretty great. The only goal we allowed was a bicycle kick in traffic, and we could’ve scored five goals of our own. I have no real complaints from the opening 30 minutes.

4) But after that? That’s when it all went to shit.

When making this gif, I made sure to include the buildup to the goal so I could try and answer the question we can see Pablo Bonilla asking. I’m not the world’s best lip reader, but I’m pretty sure Pablo’s saying “WHAT THE FUCK?!? HOW IS THERE A GUY STANDING WIDE OPEN AT THE PENALTY SPOT?!? WHO THE FUCK’S SUPPOSED TO BE COVERING HIM?!?”

Good question, Pablo. I’ve watched the gif a bunch and I’m still not sure. Bill Tuiloma’s way out wide on the ball handler, which, on the surface, seems fine. Bonilla and Larrys Mabiala do a switch, which also seems fine. Marvin Loria goes to cover the guy on the back post. Probably the right choice. Somebody’s got to cover that dude.

Then there are the four Timbers who made questionable choices. There’s George Fochive, who goes to cover the guy at the top of the box, and Diego Chara, Yimmi Chara, and Josecarlos Van Rankin, who are all kind of in open space covering no one. I think one of these four guys should’ve been covering the goalscorer, right? I think one of those three is who we should blame. Unless we should blame Fochive. I have no idea. What do you think? Who’s the guy you’d be yelling at in the film room?

5) So that fuck up made it 2-1. In the 51st minute, Steve Clark decided to fuck up as well.

I don’t see Clark touch anything except the dude’s head. The penalty’s called, the PK’s scored, and it’s 3-1 Galaxy.

But why stop there? These are the 2021 Portland Timbers. They don’t just lose on the road, they get demolished on the road. Let’s see if we can hand the Galaxy a fourth goal.

The star of this goal is clearly Van Rankin. He starts with the terrible decision to go to ground, misses the ball, and then... just sits there. He just sits there. Watches the whole damn thing sitting on his ass. Un-fucking-believable.

Yimmi Chara’s not a whole lot better. Yeah, he’s on his feet, but really, he’s just an observer. He’s no longer in this game. He just wants to get back to the hotel. His brother Diego is looking a little checked-out, too.

Just like with that earlier goal, I’m not sure who was supposed to be covering the goalscorer. Bonilla? Loria? Me? You? I dunno. I just know that, at this point, the players looked like they were completely checked-out and it was only the 56th minute. How this game didn’t finish 7-1, I have no idea.

6) The irony? We coulda been up 3-0. Totally dominated the game’s opening 30 minutes, flubbed our chances, then gave up a goal, which turned into two, which turned into three, which turned into four, which turned into a bunch of players looking like they just wanted it to be over.

In last week’s column, I called the Timbers heroic and totally meant it. This week, they looked more like a clown show. A clown show that closes up shop in the 56th minute.

So which is the truth? Are the 2021 Portland Timbers heroic or a clown show?

I. Have. No. Idea. Legitimately zero idea. When we play San Jose on Wednesday, who will take the field? A bunch of heroes or a bunch of clowns? There’s absolutely no predicting.

All I know is that this season I’ve had to watch a 4-1 loss at Dallas, a 3-0 loss at Philadelphia, a 4-1 loss at Austin, and now a 4-1 loss at the Galaxy.

This shit is reeeeeeeally getting old.