Portland Timbers: Caleb Porter’s Internal Solution


It’s time for Portland Timbers to turn on the afterburners. Being undefeated is good, but being undefeated due to a run of wins is even better.

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So far the Timbers have more ties and than wins since their last league loss to NYCFC in mid-May. They’re currently on the outside looking in sitting at 7th in the Western Conference, one spot outside that elusive playoff spot.

The Timber’s need a winning spark to continue up the table.

It’s completely doable.

For one, their situation wasn’t all that different at this time of the season compared to last.

Secondly, our position in the table doesn’t tell the whole story.

Rose City is within an attainable 4 points of “joint” third-placed teams, Salt Lake City, and LA Galaxy. SLC is in third due to one more tick in the “win” column. Apparently ‘total number of wins’ trumps ‘goal differential’. Who knew?

P.S. Doesn’t the rest of the world use ‘goal differential’?

The next two teams in front of Caleb Porter’s men are Kansas City and Vancouver. Those two stand at 28, and 25 points respectively.

The reigning champions have 25 points to their name.

That’s the bright side.

On the other side, there’s not much more room for the Timbers to fall. The three teams below them are capable of overpassing Portland, especially since Seattle has two games in hand.

Must be how Luke Skywalker felt in his X-Wing fighter as he was being hunted down by Darth Vader in his TIE Advanced x1 on the external surface of the Death Star.


But if the Timber’s can get on a good run of wins sooner rather than later, they have the opportunity to get in an opportunistic position for the upcoming playoffs.

Caleb Porter has done a phenomenal job of keeping things afloat as he deals with injuries, player national team duties and a lack of depth on the squad. But in order to have a chance to repeat last years success, Caleb needs to get more from his current batch of players.

We haven’t been able to get the engine ticking for Melano and here in lies where the Portland Timbers and Melano can benefit symbiotically.

When watching him play it always seemed as if he just wasn’t always present mentally. Almost as if he were thinking too much while playing and not letting his game flow.

Melano scored four goals and seven assists last season.

Those numbers include the playoff games.

But, everyone saw the potential.

Because sometimes his flair sees him effortlessly dancing past players on the wing. Sometimes his superb technique takes over, and he’s able to take a fine look at goal, or set Adi down a dangerous path.

You could just see the raw talent underneath just crying to be refined.

And it seems as if something has evolved.


Caleb Porter explains, as quoted by ESPN:

"“A lot of it’s psychological. When a player starts to feel settled on the field and off the field, they get in a rhythm and start to string together consistent positive performances. With him some of the pressure and some of the transition, I think it’s just taken some time.The light bulb has gone on, and he seems happy on and off the field. He’s developed some confidence. It never hurts when you score a couple goals. That tends to relax an attacking player always. Otherwise, the pressure builds.”"

The Portland Timbers need an internal solution. It pains me to admit that Arsene Wenger’s infamous phrase fits so well in this case.

Next: MLS All Star Fan XI

The man did predict Wales to play the part of the dark horse in this summer’s Euro. With a unsuspended Aaron Ramsey (they really should change the yellow card accumulation rule), Wales may have had enough quality to overtake Portugal. And in a final as we all just saw,

Who knows?