Catching up on three matches

Timbers vs. NYCFC

Just watching the recap of this match makes me so frustrated. A game I felt we should have won. The handball (handballs?) that didn’t get called, and of course Luca getting dragged down in the 18.

I thought almost through the whole match we were going to pull it off. We played pretty cohesively and had some hustle… but no finishing. It’s been a while and I’ve tried to wash away most of the stain of this loss, but watching some gifs and replays of this match did remind me of one thing. I thought Jermaine Taylor had a decent run at LB. Nice to see some defensive depth development. I’m still not sold on Valentin, much less Klute.

Vancouver vs. Timbers

Just when they needed a win, to get some fire going… and I miss the match. Ugh, I was in Washington… north of Seattle, yich.

Don’t worry though I watched all the youtubes and gifs I could. Looked fun and dynamic. Great to see Nabge on point and JackMac with some hustle. I wish I could’ve seen this one as it really illustrates what we’re capable of.


Timbers vs. Chicago Fire



Nagbe was gone on international duty, BenZ is a CDM, and our outside backs are not playing to their potential, so Chara couldn’t really join the attack. It seemed we played a lot of the match in our half, and this is why. I guess I should be happy with 1 point on the road, but I was really hoping for some more momentum here.

So to add my own momentum, here is a little gift I received this morning from one of my kiddos!


PTFC Indeed!


Not really sure about the last two matches. Things aren’t linking up, someone is off, or the team seems lethargic. We got beat by Vancouver because they wanted it more and played more physically; Dallas beat our defense.

cant even soccer

So let’s talk about our defense. In general I’m happy with Ridgewell and Borchers. Taylor is a competent backup centerback. I’m worried about our outside backs. I’ve tried to stay positive on their performances, and despite some quality moments, it seems we’re getting beat there. It was very noticeable against Dallas with their fast offense. I saw Valentin chasing more than once, and Klute was caught out of position as well.

Chara has been a stalwart at defensive mid. Not perfect mind you, but I don’t have any real strong complaints regarding his lapses.

Valeri and Nagbe need to get on the same page. Valeri wasn’t so hot against Vancouver and while Nagbe has shown well in both matches they aren’t connecting the way I’d like them too. Honestly it seems like The Maestro is either on point, or struggling to get something going.

Mattocks, Barmby, Melano, Asprilla(?)

I’m not even sure what’s happening on the wings anymore. Luca has shown some moments, I do like his speed… still waiting on the whole package though. Mattocks seems too eager, again a speedy character, but we can do without the tap dancing. I’d like to see more Barmby, and what’s happened to Asprilla? Not even in the lineup the past two matches. Ouch.

JackMac just seems a bit rough, don’t know if he needs more practice or maybe a start and then let Adi maraud around a tired defense as a sub in the second half. Regarding Adi, yes his hold up play is good and all, but if the ball isn’t getting to him then we need more versatility from our big forward.

Gleeson, excluding the nutmeged goal, has held his own as a starting keeper. He’s kept the past two matches’ scorelines looking a lot better than they might have. Thanks Jake.

I’m open to mixing things up at this point. New formation, start Barmby, or start JackMac? Maybe not both, I don’t know. The 2015 MLS Cup champs are still there, we just need to see the team firing on all cylinders.


Four points two games

I’ll take it.

Our match against the Revolution seemed pretty hard fought. It’d been a while since I’d seen the 4-4-2 formation, but I definitely understood why. I almost feel that we should have come away with three points, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The Revs really pressed at the end, and despite a top tier performance from Jermaine Taylor his own goal sullied the match. I’m having trouble assigning blame to him on this one though as it was his best match by far, and the OG seemed just unlucky more than anything else.

For the rest of our defense with the Revs, Nat seemed a little better, and our outside backs seemed a little off. I’m just not sure what to make of the off play by Klute and Valentin.

However with Liam back in for the Toronto game. The whole backline (the whole team!) seemed bolstered. Nat’s positioning seemed on point and he was chasing less, while our outside backs were showing that same spark we saw against the Quakes. Valentin really held his own again Giovinco, and Klute had some nice offensive footwork and passing with Valeri more than once.

The formation at midfield is anchored by Chara, guy knows how to work defensively and distribute effectively. For the Revs match, I don’t recall anything too spectacular from our attacking mids. For TFC, with Valeri back, Nagbe’s few good dribbles, and Luca streaking down the right… I was quite content. It was really great seeing Luca breakaway and cross to Adi, hopefully that connection will get more solid. And the Maestro, what can I say… Valeri got a goalazo of his very own for his birthday! Jewsbury lined up a starter for the Revs and came on to relieve Valeri and the end of the Toronto match. The Maestro was gassed, no doubt.

JackMac didn’t get it in the net for the Revs game though I did seem him stalking about the 18, no worries there… yet. And here comes Jack Barmby in for JackMac with a hacked one-timer for a goal. How about that? Good lad!

Darren Mattocks relieved Adi in the Revs match, and started against Toronto to be subbed by Asprilla late in game. Generally like Mattocks’s speed and voracity. Could maybe be a bit more defensive? Yeah.

Asprilla. Oh man. Coming onto the pitch against TFC and earning a yellow right off the bat, then some more fouls, then some other different sketch. It’s weird, he seems to have lost some calming edge to his game. Really hope he finds it soon. I definitely enjoy his play when he’s on.


Who the? What the? How the?

Ok, so first just to touch upon the Revs match, the only ball that got past him was a fluke OG. Otherwise he seemed pretty solid.

Now against TFC, what was it 3 or 4 fantastic reactive saves? The man was huge and fast, controlling his box with poise and aplomb. Accolades have already been spoken about our backup (??!?!?!) keeper. How often does it happen where a starter keeper is out due to injury and the backup keeper holds onto the starter’s spot after the injury is healed? Just curious!

Aside from a few questionable foot related distributions I’ve yet to find any serious fault. I know we haven’t seen Jake play as much as Adam so we don’t know how consistent he is, but I think Adam is out a few more weeks so I guess we’ll find out.

On a similar note, the same question lurks for Powell and Valentin.

And lastly… BenZ! Very happy to have him back in. I was quite bummed when he got injured last season, as it looked like he was warming up to create some havoc in the mids. Let’s see what ya got Ben!


A much needed win

That was fun, entertaining football. Even more so for the W. To say I was excited to see the lineup and formation when I learned of it right before the match is an understatement. To see Adi on the bench and JackMac on point, I knew something was up. Thing is, I hadn’t heard Powell was injured, and when I saw Valentin and Klute together… well, now you had my attention.

There were lots of top notch performances that evening, so I’ll just work my way through the lineup.

Klute and Valentin. Both performed admirably with intelligent play, good crossing, and passing. Maybe this is me just looking too hard, but I’m seeing a similar style of defending in Valentin that I saw in Jorge. I’m looking it as a good omen. Also, very happy to see Valentin do well in light of Powell’s recent play. I’m sorry Powell’s injured, but something needs to get lit under him, and some competition for LB will hopefully do that.

Nat’s had a few rough games it seems, and I’d hoped our CBs would do better to keep a clean sheet for Gleeson and Kwarsey. Unfortunately, Wondo knows how to play for a foul in the box, and Nag got dragged down holding onto Wondo’s shirt. Whoops.

I’m still holding out for Taylor to break through. I have seen some good moments and some sloppy ones.

Gleeson seems a bit larger than Kwarsey, seems on point, and… more apt to punch the ball out? I haven’t seen his play much, but I’ve heard the good things and hope to see some the good thing in the next few weeks.

Take care of yourself Adam!

Not much to say about Chara this match, did his job well. Thank you.

Now Grabavoy. I tried to pay a bit more attention to him since I haven’t really seen him play a lot, and here he is starting. It’s been a few days and I still feel generally positive. I think he could have engaged a bit more, but when he did I saw him breaking up few San Jose attacks, with decent ball movement and getting it to the attack. Let’s just say I’d like to see more of what he has to offer.

Mattocks. Another fast attacker that got the start, was excited to see his play as well. Very quick, aggressive striker it seems we have here. But that knock. Ouch. Get better.

Lucas Melano. Luca. I like that. Luca earned his paycheck this match. If he can keep it up he will get goals. That nudge to Adi for his brace, some folks have called it selfless, which it was. More than that though, it was mature. He could have taken the shot, he had the defender beat but still had to move around the keeper. Adi was to his left, with an easy goal so Melano did the right thing and nudged it to his teammate.

I thought Valeri had a pretty decent game. That is til he lost his shit and got a Red Card. Come on Diego.

JackMac! Oh you! You nearly had a brace! The goal you did put away was great. I keep thinking ‘scrappy’ when I see your play. As much as I liked Maxi when he was playing for us, he didn’t fit in as well with the ‘system’ and I see JackMac’s poaching, sneaky movement in the box a better fit than Maxi’s speedy in and out.

Captain Jack! Quite pleased to see you get some minutes and some solid play under your feet after the let down of the Dallas match. Keep it up!

Adi. Good Lord. Caleb released the Ragnarok when he subbed in Adi. I was watching in North Portland and could feel the hammer drop. This guy, his field movement, ball control, and passing all seem to have improved. Not to mention he’s still getting goals… braces even. Did he get an upgrade when playing for the Nigerian national team? Stabbing in the last goal at the death in the 9th minute of an 8 minute stoppage. How do you like that San Jose? It seemed at the end we were doing everything we could to get a draw and Adi gives us the brace for a 3-1 scoreline.

Am I allowed to literally can’t even?


Well, that was difficult to watch. If you haven’t seen these yet, watching them back to back is difficult as well.

Mistakes. That’s a rough birthday present.

On the positive side (I’m trying here). We got to see some of our attacking depth at work. Thanks Mattocks, we know how you love to score goals here, keep it up. Barmby almost got a header in. Alas, JackMac only came close… again.

Biggest take away is that Klute looks like he’s got himself a starting spot.

Nagbe is going to be OK

Alright, so the news has made the rounds. The ankle isn’t broken. And we all knew de Jong was a thug anyway, now we’re just waiting to see how the retroactive red and suspension will manifest.

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical to see how the increased handing out of reds would come about, but I can definitely see some benefit now… just wished we’d seen the red in the game.

The saddest photo ever of Darlington Nagbe. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea –


Let’s talk about the match.

We played better. I kinda called it in my last post, if I may gloat a bit, that we’d see Jewsbury back in the lineup and with the Captain’s armband no less.

Confirmed. Caleb Porter follows!

Barring Nat’s own goal, I feel the backline played better. Borchers wasn’t getting caught out of position as much, and Taylor is stepping up his game. It was great to finally see Klute and some definitive LB skills at work. Powell was good defensively as well, despite his questionable attacking forays.

Jack and Chara have a great partnership at mid. I don’t even really know what else to say about that. Always feels good when I see those two in that formation.

Of course we had Valeri and Nagbe in our attacking mids, no worries there. That said… what to do about Melano? Now, I’ve got no beef with the guy and I think he played a pretty good game, showing some hustle on offense and defense, almost had a goal. Almost. Jack Barmby has got to be chomping at the bit to get some minutes in, and I think we’re at a point where we might see him get subbed in. I was almost expecting it in the LA match, and it may have happened if it weren’t for the own goal.

Adi aka ‘The Hold Up King’, had a solid outing. I must admit I was pleasantly bemused to see Adi with some midfield dribbles along the pitch as well! Not that I want to see that often, I want to see Nagbe doing that!

Now for tomorrow, good grief, already! I’m guessing we’ll see Grabavoy come in for Darlington, but on the heels of such a recent game, I’m not sure how the rest of the formation will pan out. I don’t think Liam is fit yet, maybe in the lineup though? I can’t imagine any other defensive change barring Liam’s presence. Offensively, we have options, the aforementioned Barmby, Darren Mattocks, JackMac. Asprilla is still injured I believe. I don’t even know what’s going on with BenZ anymore!

Time to check that depth chart boys!

No Pity!

Jack Jewsbury for LB

And let’s talk about giving him the Captain’s Armband as well. I’m frustrated, so are you, so are the Timbers.

Were’s the dominance we saw at the end of last season? Were’s that deadly offense, the stout backline, our midfield marauders?

It’s mostly there. Mostly.

The personnel losses from our championship team are noticeable. With all due respect to Will Johnson, his absence is less noted than Villafana’s, and maybe even Wallace’s and Pappa’s. Just sayin…

I don’t want to talk about the Orlando match anymore. My opinion:             ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Let’s get a steady hand to marshal our wingers, bolster our defense, and give our attack a chance to put it past the dodgy keeper.

Put in that Ol’ Salty Dog!

ps. i’d be ok with CB too


Some belated RSL thoughts

Hey, so it’s a bye week, and here are some delayed thoughts on last week’s match to tide you over until next week.

Oh RSL… what happened? I used to like you guys, and now you’re just playing like loser thugs. Two reds… come on.

Anyway, that coherent crystalline analysis that you, dear reader, have become so accustomed to in my literary meanderings has become muddled with the passage time.

I’m sure you’ll make do.

I’d like to start with Jermaine Taylor who showed up to play. His performance was noted by not only me, but by Adi as well as he passed a log slab to his teammate to loft at the end of the match. Definitely enjoyed his improved play and glad to see our depth starting to show.

As others have mentioned in various blogs relating to soccer, the Timbers, MLS, et al… Alas Powell showed up to play. Our right back let loose some rockets at the net only to see them enter orbit and never been seen again. Once he got that foot under control he seemed to get some crosses down and his hustle and speed (good lord that speed) was noticeable as he moved up and down the right flank.

Still hopeful for our attacking wingers. Come on boys.

Thought Valeri and Nagbe were decent that eve though my memory is a bit soft. Thank goodness Darlington is OK, but that was not fun to watch him try to hurry off the pitch. No sir, I did not care for that.

Chara was a bit thuggish, definitely getting under Amarikwa’s skin. 50/50 here, I like that he enforces the mid so well, just a bit too much that night.

Borchers got beat, it happens. I’ll chalk that up to an unfortunate alignment of the stars, only to happen once every other millennium.

I don’t think Valentin is ready for prime time quite yet, good at depth. Would still really, and very much so, along with you, the TA, and my kitchen sink like to see Klute in the line up.

And Liam!


That first loss.

So a little late this week, but it was hard to muster up the commentary after a hard fought loss.

This match reminded me of our struggles early last season. We’re there, we’re a good team, we can put the ball on target. We just got to get it past the keeper, and between the goal posts. I know, it seems like a daunting task at times, but it can be done.


The Timbers are playing well together, and it seemed a bit off against the Quakes. OK, so yeah, Amarikwa’s goal was a stunner and Wondo’s strike… well he does play on the USMNT from time to time.

All right, so let’s break down the Timbers here.

I saw Adi playing hold up, but it seems our mids had trouble getting the ball to him. Valeri and Nagbe had a few good touches, but lacked in comparison to our previous match against the Crew.

Melano and Asprilla. These guys, they’re great. I love the speed and attack they bring. If it hadn’t been for their multiple ‘almost’ attempts I’d be hard pressed to critique. That said… let’s get a little more finesse on shots, and ball movement in general.

Chara. Well he came up to help the attack and did his best to keep Amarikwa in check. Seems like he had the most solid game out of our 11.

Obviously there are still some concerns about the back line, particularly that left side. Definitely want to get that locked down. And let’s get Liam fit as well (good grief).

Quite pleased with Jack McInernery’s strike. A lovely poach, glad to see him put it in the back of the net early in the season.

Can’t say I saw much from Grabavoy, but I can’t really chalk up anything negative or positive at this point.

So looking forward, we’ve got Darren Mattocks and Jack Barmby (3 Jacks!) coming aboard. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with some depth on offense and new attacking options.

I think things are going to gel, it’s early in the season and I’ll take the 2-1 loss on the road at this point. Onward!

Well. That was exciting.

How about that for a season opener?

The crew brought their game, but the Timbers held strong. I have to say my strongest complaint is still the sting from missing Jorge in LB. To Taylor’s credit we got the W, but my jury it still out for him. I’d have really liked to have seen Klute in this match. Let’s hope he gets sorted soon.

Onto our RB, Mr. Powell… he started showing some flashes of brilliance in the 2nd half to match his speed. Here’s to hoping that those preseason matches shook all those cobwebs loose.

Very glad to see Liam back working with Nat. They gave us a number of blocks. Thanks gents. And on that note, just for grins… I almost wished we could have moved Liam to LB, but with Big Pappa gone and no CB depth /shrug

Chara. King of the midfield. Picking pockets and roaming like a boss. What else can I say?

Now onto our attacking squad. Let’s start with Valeri and Nagbe. Ball movement anyone? I think these two can get the ball wherever they want. Nagbe on the dribble just smokin’, Valeri serving it up wherever he likes, for example, a free kick for goal. Nice.

Asprilla and Melano. I’ve got high hopes for these two this year, great attacking speed. Melano had a few nice breaks that almost could have come together. Sort of reminded me of his trials when he joined the Timbers last season, but I’m noticing a bit more confidence in his play and I hope that he’s settled and the goals will come. Asprilla had a few chances as well, I would have like to have seen him convert on at least one of those. Let’s get another goalazo Dairon! Despite their offensive prowess, we’re going to have see these two up their defending a tad as well as the season continues. I’m confident they’ll step up.

Adi, played well this eve, though that yellow was bit much. That said, his hold up play is on the point, and I’ve got to say his passing game and field awareness appear to have improved. With Nagbe and Valeri behind him, and Asprilla and Melano on the wings, I think we’ve got a solid first string offense this year.

Captain Jack came on late in the game for Valeri, liked that, good call Porter. It does remind me, however, of our lack of depth. But I guess we’re still building on that. From the preseason games, I don’t think Jack Mac and Grabavoy have the communication down… something to work on I suppose. And it appears Neco Brett and Valentin were on the bench as well. Time will tell with these new additions to the squad. And let’s not forget BenZ and Gleeson providing us some true first team depth on the pine.

Anyway, here’s to a good start to a new season!


Oh Darlington where art thou?

Our deft attacking midfielder was noticeably quiet rounding out the final match in the Simple Invitational against the Chicago Fire last night. Suffice to say I heard Michael Harrington’s name mentioned more often in the play-by-play than Darlington’s. I suppose it happens, maybe this loss will shake off the last remnants of cobwebs.

So I payed a bit more attention to Jermaine Taylor this match, he helped me in this endeavor by earning himself a yellow, and getting caught out leading to a Chicago goal. Our left side is a bit soft and Valentin’s sub out for Jack McInerney was not much of a surprise. Jorge’s shoes look quite big to fill right now.

Valeri was fun to watch, Adi’s hold up play was solid, and Melano Asprilla’s attacks appeared on the point… however, we are running into that old problem of getting it into the back of the net. The season has yet to begin, and the Ides of March approach. I’m not sayin’ things are all Hell and Highwater, I’m just sayin’…

Let’s see, what else… Chara did his Chara thing. Thanks for that Diego.

Mr. Borchers seemed to have a pretty decent game, no real complaints.

Still a bit nervous about our #2, Alvas, thank goodness the man is fast.

All said and done, still feeling pretty good about this season, but let’s sort out that winger situation.

Some Quick thoughts on the Simple Invitational with Minnesota

That first red card… meh. The second was quite deserved.

Asprilla is looking for another goalazo, of which I have no complaints.

Would have liked to have seen Klute in the LB spot, but good to see Valentin’s play. Definitely going to be interesting to see how that plays out.

Nice seeing Valeri and Nagbe working up front, and Melano seems a bit more settled.

I didn’t really notice anything from our new CB, Taylor, but I’m chalking that up as a positive.

Would have preferred a larger line change at the half given the red cards. It’s a common complaint of Porter that he doesn’t sub early enough, and in this match in particular it would have been nice to see those 75min subs come in earlier and check out their work rate. Especially Jack Mac’s.

All in all I enjoyed the hustle. Just stop fouling the Maestro.