After the Timbers missed a legit chance to pick up their first road victory on Saturday, Portland keeper Troy Perkins likened his team's play this season to the stock market.
"It's up. It's down," Perkins said. "We have to find that medium where it's consistently at the same level."
I'll buy that, though if the Timbers are playing like blue-chippers are home, their away performances have been downright junky.
Coach John Spencer told reporters after the game he'd like to see more patience offensively, but there's no doubt Timbers fans may be losing their patience with a team whose performance ebbs and flows based on location. If the team is tired of hearing questions about their woes away from the House of Pane, they didn't do much about it against a Chivas USA team that made Portland look "disjointed."
Neither team played particularly well, it's just that the Timbers' particularly troublesome road issues remained well in view: The Goats dominated possession and rattled off 19 shots—not a good stat for a Portland defense that's struggled to hold the line in hostile territory. The match wasn't as close as the final score suggests, and without some "world-class saves" from Perkins, it could've been much worse. Perkins finished with a season-high six stops, and particularly in the opening 15 minutes, he single-handedly (double-handedly, really) kept the Timbers in the game.
It didn't help that Portland's most consistent defender this season, Eric Brunner, stood home due to illness, though his replacement (and early-season starter) David Horst played solidly.
Still, plenty of questions remain about Portland's mental approach to road matches and even though the Timbers are back home on Saturday against defending MLS Cup champs Colorado, those queries are sure to remain on the front-burner this week. Of course, if there's a silver lining to a missed golden opportunity, it's that Portland started the match at a high level and rallied a bit to play some of their best soccer of the night once Marco Mondaini to scored the match's lone goal in the 70th minute.
But in between, legit scoring chances were scarce (although Portland did manage a season-high nine corner kicks) and the Timbers remain winless (0-5-2) in MLS play after giving up the first goal. And it's that sort of initial offering that'd keep any investor weary of buying what Portland's selling.
Highlights after the jump ...