NBC Sports Network highlights, and considering the Portland problem


Watching Portland stink it up last night against Colorado, I couldn’t help but think of what mess Caleb Porter may have gotten himself into.

You can talk all day about field size (Jeld-Wen is small) or about tactics or Designated Players who don’t rise. Fine. Those are all contributing factors.

But I submit that it’s quite simple: overall, the players simply aren’t good enough. (No, this is not an original thought. I’ve said it before, and so have others. But last night’s capitulation drove home the point.)

Defenders who can’t mark, poor discipline, a midfield that can scarcely pass, a DP striker (Kris Boyd) who isn’t missing any meals these days, by the look of it.  But those are just the individual symptons: here is the heart of the problem:

General manager Gavin Wilkinson presumably picked those players. Wilkinson will, presumably, continue to have a say in selecting the players. So … where does that leave things as Porter prepares to take over in December?

By the time Porter arrives, some of the important decisions will have already been made on player contract options. Scouting will have been done and trades considered. And it’s getting late in the game to start exploring international transfers, which means the process must have at least started by then.

I’m not saying this is all Wilkinson’s fault; I was never in the room previously when important choices were made, so I can’t say who had the bigger pieces of the influence pie. I am saying that player personnel is a mess and that mistakes were most certainly made – and that it’s fair to ask if that part has been fixed within the Portland Timbers organization?

Think about that a little as you watch Colorado beat up on the Timbers, who have scored just six goals in 13 road games this year. Six!


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