Portland Timbers Trying To Find Their Playoff Groove

Aug 24, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; The Timbers Army raises the Tifo before the game of Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders at Providence Park. Mandatory Credit: Susan Ragan-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; The Timbers Army raises the Tifo before the game of Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders at Providence Park. Mandatory Credit: Susan Ragan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Portland Timbers were able to right a wrong after last week’s disappointing display. Caleb Porter’s men came out emphatically and determined, delivering just what fans and Providence Park deserved.

It was genuinely a fantastic match of soccer; well to be fair it was probably a better game if you weren’t a Seattle supporter. Specifically, the first half was full of dazzle and celebration for the Timbers, but Seattle showed character by taking two goals back early in the second half.

Thankfully Portland maintained their composure as they saw out the victory against their archrival and more importantly stayed in contention for a playoff run.

Taylor Twellman commented some interesting information during yesterday’s match. In his opinion, Caleb Porter is the best coach from September 1st on. The time coincides with Porter’s decision last year to bring in Nagbe to the midfield.

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Apparently, Porter spends the early months of the season tinkering with his lineup; he doesn’t want anyone to think they have their position nailed down; he’s looking for competition in all positions.

Then once we round the summer months, he tends to step out of the way and let his players do their thing. Caleb admits they’re a bit behind this year because of all the injuries.

Injuries or not, you could feel the resurrection of Portland in the atmosphere and energy brought not only by the players but the fans.

Portland’s largest benefit came from having Fanendo Adi in the starting lineup. Adi gives the Timber’s another dimension when he’s on the pitch.

Adi is able to keep the back line occupied, stretch the defense, and provide a passing outlet for the midfield players.

His height and energy bring a zip to the frontline. Adi interrupts, challenges, and cogs up defenses by his mere presence and determination to get to the end of every ball that is whipped into the box.

Fanendo pulls and pushes the back line helping disorganize them and creates gaps for his teammates to exploit. Adi’s relationship with Valeri only continues to grow skyward as Adi creates space for Valeri to control the flow of the game.

But everything has to start to come together if Portland wants a consecutive playoff run, something that hasn’t happened since the Timber’s joined the top flight of soccer, the MLS.

Improvement must be a constant motivator for team and coach. Timbers need to shore up their wing backs as they move forward with their campaign.

Portland Timbers
Aug 13, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Portland Timbers defender Vytas Andriuskevicius (5) passes the ball against the D.C. United during the first half at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Andriuskevicius still needs time to find his feet in Portland. He scored the opening goal in the match that unleashed the flurry of goals, but his defending and final ball were suspect at times.

Powell had the same difficulty providing support in the attacking third. Both Powell and Andriuskevicius were getting forward, but their final ball efforts were often left wasted by a cross-blown over the top or misplaced.

Thankfully, Steven Taylor has amalgamated well with Ridgewell at the heart of our defense to provide calm and experience for Andriuskevicius and Powell.

Hopefully, Andriuskevicius and Powell can continue to improve, as their ability to get forward will be required in the upcoming run of games. Add a consistent final ball to each of their skill sets and the Timber’s offense has the potential to be sparked by any one of their players, defense included.

As we move forward, it has to be in the back of their mind that one win here and one win there just won’t be enough. Consistency is needed, especially at this time of the year.

Since Portland’s 3-1 win against Seattle on July 17, the Timbers have only taken 9 points out of a possible 21. If that isn’t worrisome enough, the Timbers have yet to claim a victory away from home this season.

Next: Houston Dash Earn 2-2 Draw Against Western New York Flash

With Portland having to visit, FC Dallas, the top-ranked team in the Western Conference, they need to break their away duck sooner rather than later.