Welcome to the first installment of the post-slab pint, where I will be sitting down after every Portland Timbers game (pint in-hand) to talk about three things I liked and three things I didn’t like about the performance.
So without further ado, here’s what I liked:
- The Timbers have taken 13 points out of a possible 15 since the 3-1 defeat in Austin just one month ago. I have to admit, I did not expect the Timbers to respond this well to the soul-crushing run of results from late July to mid-August. However, three consecutive shutout road wins, and a couple of gritty performances against Colorado and LAFC at Providence Park have flipped the season on its head.
- Dairon Asprilla continued his resurgent season with another goal and all-around solid performance before being substituted in the 61st minute of the match. The Colombian notched his sixth goal of the season so far, making good on his xG of 0.8 goals for the game. Asprilla also completed 75 percent of his passes on the night, including nine accurate forward passes out of his successful 12, to go along with one cross.
- For the second time this season, the Timbers have beaten LAFC by a score of 2-1 at Providence Park. The win moved the Timbers up to fifth place in the absolute log-jam that is the MLS Western Conference and four points clear of LAFC, who host the Timbers in another crucial playoff six-pointer on Wednesday, Sept. 29. LAFC is also in the mix for a playoff spot, so to take six of a possible nine points off them before playing the third and final game feels extra good.
Now, what did I dislike about the result against LAFC?
- Claudio Bravo had a torrid time against Brian Rodriguez and Jose Cifuentes, who had their way with him for the entirety of the game. It’s been an up and down first year for Claudio Bravo with the Timbers, but this was one of his worst performances of the season by far. Bravo gave away two fouls in the game and Rodriguez and Cifuentes took turns attacking the Argentine left-back throughout the match, combining for eight total shots.
- The worrying defensive trend of “bending as far as possible without breaking” continued for the Timbers against LAFC. To put it simply, the Timbers were extremely fortunate not to concede more than the penalty goal. The Timbers conceded 14 shots against LAFC and their xG conceded was two. Had Cifuentes not missed a sitter in front of goal or cannoned that shot off the post during the second half, I’m not sure we would be talking about another three points against LAFC.
- Despite an MLS Team of the Week appearance, Larrys Mabiala’s yellow card against LAFC will see him miss the Timbers' next match against Real Salt Lake. Mabiala has been the most consistent defender for Portland this season and losing him to suspension for another playoff six-pointer against RSL at the weekend is less than ideal. Luckily, Bill Tuiloma will be available to start the match after serving his one-game suspension following his red card against Colorado.
All things considered, the win was a really good result against an LAFC team that pushed the Timbers all the way throughout the game. Leave a comment and let us know what you liked and disliked about the game.