July 22, 2007

Atlanta-Portland thoughts

Tough loss last night, it really looked like the breakneck schedule of the last few weeks is catching up with the players. They tired much quicker than usual last night against a strong Portland team.
  • I was really impressed with the Timbers. They beat Vancouver on the West Coast on Thursday night, and didn't look worn down last night after the cross country flight. Will they have anything left for Charleston today? They were also missing their leading scorer Andrew Gregor due to yellow card accumulation. The Timbers have now won seven in a row.
  • Portland might have the best defense in the league. They now have ten shutouts on the year. They kept the quality scoring chances to a minimum. Rios had the best chance on a nice layoff from Antoniuk, but the Portland back-up keeper stoned the 1v1 attempt.
  • Newly signed Anthony Wolfe (his signing was announced in the postgame write-up) looked like he has some good qualities, although you could tell he hadn't played with his new teammates very much. Some of the fans were confused and amused that Wolfe was wearing Josh Smith's #16 jersey, complete with Smith on the back. They could've at least used tape like Carolina did earlier this season to cover up the wrong name.
  • The Portland goal came on a 3v2 break by the Timbers. Justin Moore was caught in no-man's land, but then didn't react when McManus hustled his way back into the play to support. By that point, the attacker was too clear and ripped a shot. McIntosh saved well, but couldn't hold it and Portland put in the rebound.
  • The long balls out of the back played to the strengths of the Portland defense. Poor Antoniuk was killing himself trying to get on the end of them, but was gassed by the end of the game. Wolfe almost snuck through a couple of times, but didn't have support and was double teamed off the ball. I was excited when Rivillo came on for Moore to go to a 3-5-2, but the long balls continued and the numbers in the midfield weren't fully exploited. Bobo adjusted really well to playing in the middle of the three man backline.
  • The Silverbacks will now be heading out to Portland for a return match with the Timbers on Thursday before returning home for the Copa Amistad friendly against Cruz Azul.
  • I'm really starting to worry about the fitness of the players after all the games that have piled up recently. I'd like to see some of the experienced guys on the bench used to spell some of the guys who have played so much lately. I worry that all of these minutes on the field are going to come back to hurt the team down the line.
Let's see what happens next...

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