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Portland’s Porter praises form, but captain Johnson just wants wins

Apr 20, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT

MLS Real Salt Lake Timbers AP

At times, Real Salt Lake nearly gave away the points to the Portland but the Timbers simply could not finish. Yes, Nick Rimando was sensational –in particular while bailing out USMNT midfielder Kyle Beckerman’s nearly inconceivable back pass — but Portland would not bury the ball.

The Timbers fell to 0-3 on the road this season with Saturday’s 1-0 loss, complicating an already head-scratching start to the year that has Portland in second-to-last place out West at 0W-3L-4T.

And as the club continues to miss the win column, they are left ruing their all of their almosts and “What ifs?” As head coach Caleb Porter was talking about how much better the Timbers were than their opponents, Will Johnson was finding no wins in moral victories.

“I’m a little bit sick and tired of hearing that; it’s all about results,” Johnson said of drawing positives from the loss. “We have to step up and make plays, and there are plays out there that are there to be made. This is professional soccer, and when we get in those big moments we look like amateurs. So we have to face the reality that we have to be better.”

Porter’s confidence may be nauseating to some, and it’s starting to look a little silly this season. Sure it’s not necessary to push the panic button, especially for a coach, but at some point Portland has to wonder whether a little more urgency is the play. They lost five matches last season and have three L’s in 2014. Johnson’s talk is sounding a lot more inspiring than Porter’s resolve.

Maybe the combination will work out well.

  1. talgrath - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    I think there’s two things you have to look at to find the source of the Timber’s problems. First, it’s worth noting that the Timbers tied a lot of games last year, 15 to be exact, 4 more than the next nearest (Dallas) and double or nearly so of the other teams’ totals in the league. When you get a lot of ties, you’re running a razor’s edge, but for one or two moments going your way you could be in the loss column. The other factor was that Caleb Porter, and what he did with his players, was unexpected; old scouting reports were useless and you could only put together what you had from their previous games in the season to that point. Now, most everyone has some idea of how their players stack up and what they need to do to beat Portland, and now Portland is on the back foot. Even as a Sounder’s fan, I have no doubt the Timbers will turn it around, but a repeat of last season’s performance is probably not happening.

    • Sgc - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:06 PM

      That’s a pretty good rundown. I would say also that the Timbers have a weakness in central defense, which is not where you want it to be.

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