Portland’s 2-0 win Saturday at D.C. United was no fluke. The home team had some chances, but the visiting Timbers never looked particularly stretched, scoring once in each half to comfortably ride out another win.
Portland is unbeaten in 11 straight, now in second place in the West and creeping ever closer to first-place Dallas. But we’ll get back to Caleb Porter’s bunch of high-fliers later. For now, let’s concentrate on why United, a once-proud organization, seems so passively accepting of this ridiculous 10-game winless streak.
That winless streak just equaled an 11-year-old club record by the way.
So, where are the changes? Where is the significant response?
Yes, manager Ben Olsen made some lineup changes Saturday. And to be fair, they were fairly significant. Carlos Ruiz came in at striker for the continually ineffective Lionard Pajoy. Ruiz did perform some reasonable hold-up work and set up a couple of chances … but in the end he was just another starter in a another night of futility for the league’s worst offense.
If five goals in seven home games doesn’t say “futility,” what does?
But Ruiz wasn’t the only change. Dwayne De Rosario, the league MVP just two years ago, was benched. Nick DeLeon played in the attacking midfield role once again, although De Rosario did step in at the 65th-minute mark.
But 10-game winless streaks demand more than lineup adjustments.
So where are the changes?
At some point, a coaching change will be in order. Ben Olsen said weeks ago that his job is surely in danger.
But even if the deciders around RFK Stadium believe in Olsen, they’ll need to do something with the personnel. Where are the reinforcements, the acknowledgment that not nearly enough winter roster fortification was done.
Look at similarly struggling Chicago. Significant roster changes were just made at Toyota Park, where Mike Magee and Bakary Soumare were added over the last few days. Magee is one of the league’s leading goal scorers in 2013. And Soumare was a former MLS Defender of the Year finalist and an MLS All-Star before taking his career overseas.
Meanwhile, United has added … uh …
They can move the starting pieces around, but things will not get better at RFK Stadium until the back line improves, and until some of the strugglers are either replaced or squeezed by newcomers into delivering something more on match day.