Skip to content

What in the world is wrong with the Portland Timbers?

Apr 27, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

Portland Timbers v Houston Dynamo Getty Images

Alright, so maybe they were a little over-hyped after a season where you could argue they did just as much “not losing” as winning — 14 wins, 15 ties — but how do you explain the Portland Timbers drop from near-champion to cellar dweller?

I’m not saying I’ve got answers, but let’s go through this together and see what we come up with, shall we?

Some would say it’s simply the matter of a challenging run of opponents. After roughly one-quarter of the season, Portland has already made trips to Salt Lake, Houston, Dallas and Colorado.

But they’ve also failed to gain three points at their intense home park against Chivas USA. Against Chicago. Against Philadelphia. None of those teams can claim a spot in their conference any higher than eighth.

The Timbers have the fourth-worst goal differential — not surprising for a last-place team — and they’ve only scored nine goals over eight games.

Four of those goals came in one match, and the Timbers have been blanked twice. Last year, they weren’t shut out until May 3. They didn’t lose a match in which they were shut out until July.

It’s April.

The advanced stats say Portland may be struggling on attack and defense, but they haven’t been absolutely miserable. And it’s a good sign that of the three major Squawka stats, the Timbers rank the highest in terms of possession (12th in the league). Last year, they were fifth in possession, second in attack, third in defense. It’s all down.

This has a lot to do with the player who was a stat nerd’s darling in 2013, Darlington Nagbe. The midfielder scored nine goals, added four assists and posted the best Squawka score in the league. He’s nowhere near that now — 34th — with a lone assist through 667 minutes of play. Maybe it’s as simple as the his functioning closer to star status again.

But what’s also troubling is where the keepers rank out of the 24 keepers to have taken the pitch for Major League Soccer clubs so far. Donovan Ricketts has already fought injury this year after getting loads of plaudits and award buzz last year.

source:

Squawka.com

There are a few bright spots, aside from the traditional possession percentages head coach Caleb Porter has been trumpeting in post-match banter. For one thing, his team is still ticking people off. After totaling the fifth-most fouls suffered in their tremendously successful 2013, the Timbers are third right now.

Next up, it’s DC United at Providence Park, followed by two incredibly-stiff tests. The Timbers will square off with the only two positive possession stat teams in the league so far this season: Los Angeles and Columbus.

Porter is saying his problems are only mostly regarding the final-third (which is true for every team, but I digress). He loves their organization and chemistry, but the head coach wants his guys to be a little more selfish, to shoot. From The Oregonian:

Whatever it is, the Timbers Army is right to feel antsy. The season’s not going well, and five points behind the last playoff spot starts to look more daunting once the calendar turns May.

Latest Posts
  1. Watch Live: Burnley vs. Leicester City (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:47 AM EDT

    Leicester City v Burnley - Premier League Getty Images

    Turf Moor is the place, and Danny Ings will lead the Clarets attack in a quest for safety.

  2. Watch Live: Queens Park Rangers vs. West Ham United (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    Queens Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Getty Images

    Can the R’s grab a crucial win in the London derby? Watch live online.

  3. Watch Live: Stoke City vs. Sunderland (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:44 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    USMNT back Geoff Cameron gets the start at right back, again, for Stoke City.

  4. Southampton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Visitors twice come back from Pelle goals

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:42 AM EDT

    Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Getty Images

    Kelvin Davis wasn’t poor, but Saints are clearly missing the steady play of Fraser Forster between the sticks.

  5. Watch Live: West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    Balotelli AP

    Can Liverpool keep their faint top four hopes alive? Watch them live online, right here.

  6. Watch Live: Newcastle United vs. Swansea City (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:28 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    There will be no Bafetimbi Gomis at all for Swans, while Ki Sung-yeung is relegated to the bench.

  7. WATCH: Premier League live online via NBC Sports Live Extra – Week 34

    Apr 25, 2015, 7:15 AM EDT

    Live Extra

    Where and how to watch every single PL game live online or via the app during Week 34.

  8. Watch Live: Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 25, 2015, 7:07 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    USMNT winger/back DeAndre Yedlin is on the bench for Spurs.

  9. MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-1 FC Dallas

    Apr 25, 2015, 12:21 AM EDT

    Colorado Rapids vs Columbus Crew Colorado Rapids vs Columbus Crew

    FC Dallas took the lead into halftime, but a second half red card to Blas Perez let Colorado sneak back for a point.

  10. Tony Pulis: I’m more than just an escape artist

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:10 PM EDT

    Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Getty Images

    Tony Pulis is known for turning around struggling clubs, but the West Brom manager says he is more than just a last resort.

  11. MLS Snapshot: Chicago Fire 1-0 New York City FC

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:20 PM EDT

    Toronto FC v Chicago Fire Getty Images

    David Accam’s first MLS goal was enough for Chicago to down a NYCFC side that played more than 60 minutes a man down.

  12. Americans Abroad preview: Howard and Guzan face Manchester opposition

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:38 PM EDT

    Everton v Burnley - Premier League Getty Images

    Tim Howard takes on his former club Manchester United, while Brad Guzan looks to keep Manchester City off the scoresheet.

  13. Tottenham looking to sell Adebayor at season’s end

    Apr 24, 2015, 8:50 PM EDT

    FBL-ENG-FA CUP-TOTTENHAM-LEICESTER Getty Images

    Finding a club to pay his $150,000 per week wages is the only problem for Spurs.

  14. Premier League Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool

    Apr 24, 2015, 7:46 PM EDT

    Aston Villa v Liverpool - FA Cup Semi-Final Aston Villa v Liverpool - FA Cup Semi-Final

    The Baggies must defend The Hawthorns as Liverpool is barely clinging on to top-four dreams.

  15. Hull City players face pay cuts up to 50-percent if relegated

    Apr 24, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    Swansea City v Hull City - Premier League Getty Images

    Clinging onto safety in the Premier League, Hull City players now have some added incentive to avoid the drop.

  16. Van Gaal: Ryan Giggs will be the next manager at Manchester United

    Apr 24, 2015, 5:37 PM EDT

    Manchester United Training and Press Conference Manchester United Training and Press Conference

    Still in his first season as manager at Old Trafford, LVG has already endorsed his top assistant to be the next in line.

  17. Premier League Preview: Manchester City vs. Aston Villa

    Apr 24, 2015, 4:42 PM EDT

    Can Tim Sherwood and Aston Villa continue their climb up the table at the Etihad?

  18. SportsWorld: Jose Fonte talks playing with Ronaldo, shares thoughts on MLS

    Apr 24, 2015, 3:42 PM EDT

    Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton - Premier League Getty Images

    PST’s Joe Prince-Wright sat down with the Southampton defender to see how the Saints’ skipper has evolved into one of the best center-backs in the Premier League.

  19. VIDEO: PST Extra asks if Liverpool, Manchester City should get new managers

    Apr 24, 2015, 2:50 PM EDT

    Liverpool v Manchester City Getty Images

    In the latest PST Extra we take a quick look at why whispers about managers losing their jobs at Liverpool, Man City are getting louder.

Featured video

Should Chelsea be more entertaining?