Our pals over at Soccerly are wondering whether one week is enough for Portland to get rid of the rust that saw the club barely find an equalizer against Philadelphia during last weekend’s home-opening draw at Providence Park.
Can’t blame them, but is their criticism of the Timbers timidity something for Portland fans to worry over?
“Win, lose, or draw, talk of dominance in possession is a recurring theme for Porter during post match press conferences, but unless passes are converted to assists the words can ring hollow, ‘we still had 59 percent of the possession, so we still had a lot of the ball. Still had 15 shots to 10. We were still the better team between the boxes, but we didn’t make a play on a corner.'”
While the Timbers had some new pieces in play, Philly could claim the same — including perhaps their most important piece in Maurice Edu — and had hauled it across the continent for the match. As Soccerly points out, it was an uncharacteristic mistake from Union captain Brian Carroll that kickstarted the match-tying goal.
I don’t think too many people are debating whether the Timbers are for real. They’re also a team that, as I pointed out in the Timbers season preview, tied a heck of a lot of matches last season. That’s good and all, as they aren’t losses, but Porter and company want to make a run at the Supporters Shield. One point is not going to do that, which means they can’t lean on that rust as an excuse.
It’s go time all-the-time with a Portland team in search of all the marbles… and it has to start this weekend with wobbly Chicago. Look for newly-extended Will Johnson to take the reins for a Timbers team aiming at win No. 1 in 2014.