Too little too late?

Portland Timbers making a repeat appearance in 2016 championship run looking worse and worse.

If you’ve followed the Timbers this year you pretty much have to admit that the season has been feast or famine based upon results.  Why not – that’s how everyone measures success isn’t it?

I do to, to an extent, but I also like to look at trends, data trends in particular.  And in no time since Caleb Porter has coached this team have we ever seen their initial team performance indicators as low as they were to start this season.

And even now they are especially low, compared to other seasons.  For me this isn’t just an indicator of road woes it’s an indicator of a systemic failure in overall team execution.

Can we point to injuries – some say yes… I disagree – every team has injuries and those issues should be built into how a team builds their team – at least for those teams that have savvy front office staff.

In hindsight, yes, the Timbers have had some player personnel changes, the most glaring failure as been the acquisition of Lucas Melano you say???

For those focusing on money and ‘return of investment’ I’d agree.  but when I look at this team the glaring failure for me is the defensive unit, both individual players and their play as a team (the most critical part)…

Yielding 49 goals is horrendous – that’s nearly twice as many as Colorado and a huge drop-off from last year.  But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen poor performances in team defending for the Timbers.  If it wasn’t for Donovan Ricketts three years ago and some tidy play by Adam Kwarasey and a forgiving post last year the reality of a team-wide poor showing in defense might have shown itself earlier.

Bottom line for me is the Timbers defensive scheme doesn’t work very well…  I don’t know who the coach is in that area but with a two central defenders and two fleet-footed fullbacks this team should give up less space and time atop the 18 yard box than most teams in MLS.

s a reminder – in my measurement method – the PWP Index – the Timbers were fifth worst in combined attacking and defending Possession with Purpose in April this year.

While that number has crept up a bit their overall performance still remains in the bottom half.  And as pretty much hovered there the entirety of this year.  So for me, as painful as it is, this team simply hasn’t been good enough to qualify for the playoffs – even if they do!

But hark, all is not lost, there remains the #CCL and this is where I think and feel the Timbers need to show grist – real grist as their league season, in my view, has been a complete failure.

 

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