by Sunday at 9:01 am•
Throughout all of the success that they've had since mid-March, there has been one constant with the Portland Timbers: they've been focused. Sharp, game in, game out, week in, week out. Ready to compete.
On Saturday night, facing the Montreal Impact at Providence Park, at long last, they weren't. Not by a long shot. They started the game slowly, painfully so, and were punished for it — conceding multiple goals in the first half for the first time all year, and taking a deserved deficit into halftime.
The sluggish start made plenty of sense. This was the club's third game in seven days, on the back of a long road trip, taking place just three nights after a highly-charged U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal in Los Angeles that ended in an official protest and an allegation of racial abuse.
Most crucially, the Timbers were playing it without the suspended Diego Chara — without whom they have not won in 19 — that's n i n e t e e n — straight games.
Portland did improve in the second half, and ended up with a 2-all draw thanks to an absolutely shocking pair of goalkeeping errors from Montreal's backstop Evan Bush, but several points are or are becoming quite clear.Continue reading »