Despite an improved offensive display, the Timbers couldn't keep up as defensive lapses doom them to a loss in Ohio.
Didn't have much hope for a result with Zup and Bravo out, but dang! Score one of those headers, please. I would have been fine with a 2-2 draw against a good team like Cincy.
Just cannot compete in MLS with a backline where 2 of 4 guys are not MLS quality. Mabs is, sadly and obviously, now a has-been; Rasmussen was utterly bereft of poise and looks more with every game like a never-will-be.
That group just CANNOT start again - we can't afford it.
Not too bad against a really good Cincinnati team. Most of their chances came from mistakes on our part thanks to Mabiala and Rasmussen (mostly Mabiala). Having Zuparic and Bravo would’ve made a world of difference. Ayala was great yet again. Evander showed more this game than I think he has all season, we’re most dangerous when he’s on the ball. The game seems to slow down for him and he looks like he sees everything, and then has the skill to pick out any pass. Him and Moreno started to really click, that was exciting. Boli hasn’t been able to show enough of what he can do imo, he seems like a good player but like Evander he hasn’t quite figured the league out and hasn’t established a connection with his teammates. Feels like he gets crowded by defenders as soon as he gets the ball
We could’ve scored several headers today. Ayala and Evander both had free headers. Asprilla had one where he just completely mistimed his jump, and I think he had another one off of a corner kick which he whiffed. Asprilla is usually a monster in the air too. Having Mora on the field today would’ve made such a massive difference. McGraw was again great as usual, and Mosquera was MOTM for me. He’s so much fun to watch, I love how casually he can blow by players
Overall a pretty decent game in all honesty, considering how bad we usually are on the road and how good Cincinnati is. We go to St Louis which is gonna be really difficult, I’m definitely not expecting much from that game. After that our schedule finally gets easier, with back to back games against Austin and Vancouver at home, RSL away, Minnesota at home, then SKC and Seattle away. Minnesota will be the hardest, because we already know that we can beat Seattle. The next month of games will be key to turning our season around
And some other good news - Timbers found a technical director:
Within about 20 minutes it was obvious that Cincy's entire game plan was "go at Larrys as much and as hard as you can". And I don't blame them - it worked, because they know what we all know, that Larrys is not starting quality at this point.
While the Timbers didn't play all that badly, particularly in the first half, I will say that all I could think of while watching Cincinnati was "this is the way that Gio says the Timbers want to play". Counter after counter, always moving forward with the ball, good pressing on the defensive end. FCC is good at it; the Timbers are not.
There were some encouraging signs on the offensive end on Saturday, for sure, and once the regular defenders come back, that should shore things up back there a bit. there's still way more "what the hell just happened" moments than I would like to see, but at least yesterday I'm pinning a lot of that on the makeshift back line.
Play the kids on Wednesday, and hopefully next weekend we'll see a more complete performance. I'm still not sold on this team being any good, but yesterday showed me that there is a good future in building around Evander, Mosquera, and Moreno. Evander looked a lot more comfortable yesterday, even though I don't think he's at his best yet, which was good to see.
Sucks to lose. But there were positive signs. Moreno seems a bit unlocked the last couple weeks. Mosquera continues to set up danger.
We look good when Paredes is on.
Just keep in mind we have played the toughest schedule in MLS, by a good bit. I calculate the record of opponents based on home and away results, and our average opponent PPG is 1.85 PPG. 2nd place is DC United at 1.64 PPG.
I mean we've already played the #2 and #3 teams in the east (both on the road I might add), and the #1, #2, #3, and #4 teams in the west. Yes we have a tough hill to climb but the schedule will be a bit easier going forward (22nd hardest for remainder of the season) and (hopefully) we'll eventually start getting healthy.
Highlight video for Evander! He had a pretty solid game, really. I want to point out the clip at 1:09. This is a great example of how narrow we play, with Mosquera being the only one to provide some sort of width. Boli and Asprilla are both making essentially the same run away from Evander, right to goal. Evander is then just dribbling into empty space with no one in front of him. He does well with a flick to Ayala but when we get Evander in that sort of space we have to take better advantage of it. He’s got tons of time and is a good distance away from goal, the team needs to work on making these moments more dangerous, because when they do, good things happen. Case and point: the clip at 6:40
Also I want to point out - the sequence at 6:05 is one of the best sequences of play I’ve seen from the Timbers in a long time. That was really nice, and a reminder that Moreno, Evander, Boli, and Paredes may be a really great collective on the field
Somehow this loss was a positive result. Didn't get to see whole match, maybe 60 percent throughout the full ninety. Committed to attacking soccer not just sitting back. Much more enjoyable to watch some quality play out there. If the Timbers can go out there and play entertaining football. and lose to a quality side I am ok with that. Was that Llamosa?