Two defenders provide the offense as the Timbers beat LAFC for the first time since 2021.
I honestly don't have strong feelings about making it to the playoffs or, if we get there, making a good run. I just want to end the season having shed the malaise that has hung over this team for most of this year so that we can move into next year without a lot of baggage.
This game was awesome for a variety of reasons, but the post game press conferences were my favorite part. Zac, Larrys, and Miles shared some really interesting information that I'd like to highlight for those who missed it.
When asked about making offensive substitutions instead of defensive ones, Miles said "2-0. What do you have to lose? Lets go for it, lets go for more goals, and I think that's important at this point. We need 3 points, we don't need 1. ... You gotta be brave and you gotta be bold in times like this." LOVE IT!! Love that he's not scared, we can't settle down and let the opponent come at us, we should be trying to win every minute. He's probably seen us falter in the final 15 minutes a lot over the past six years and he wasn't about to let that happen again.
The Mabiala quote in regards to Ridgewell that's been going around is great as well. When Liam came in I think we all assumed he would be coaching the defense, but he was probably #2 to Llamosa, following his orders. Now he's the head defensive coach, and he's all over it. Mabiala said, "Liam's like all over everything and doesn't let anything slide, and that's good because I feel like especially for the last two seasons we've been letting a lot of small things slide that cost us so many points. And Ridgy's here and not letting anything slide and I like it." Really happy to see that Ridgy being in a more involved role is having a positive impact on the team. He's not too far removed from his playing days, so his knowledge is very valuable. Zac also mentioned that Ridgy was very upset by goals allowed from set pieces in the past couple games, and he placed an emphasis on set piece defending (30-35 minutes on set pieces is what he said).
Similarly to the previous quote, Zac mentioned that Miles and the coaching staff is calling players out in film sessions, holding players accountable for their mistakes. That is huge. With this and the last quote, I'm starting to think that maybe Gio was a little too nice to his players. I don't want my coach to let mistakes slide and not hold players accountable. Zac said, "We're not trying to hurt anyone's feelings, but at the end of the day it's a professional sport and we're all trying to win and all trying to be better for each other." Hell yeah, they're big boys, they can take criticism to make themselves better.
Another thing he said is a small change but something that I think makes a big difference. Bingham was playing higher this game (and in general) so they can incorporate him in possession between the center backs. Previously, it's been Diego Chara (or another CM) dropping deep to receive the ball, which takes a key player out of the midfield. Bringing the keeper up allows for our midfield to stay intact, and now we can advance the ball much easier out of the back because we have that midfielder there to create triangles. I love this, it's a really small change but we've been able to play out of the back so much easier the last few games. I love that we're seeing these little tweaks that Joseph is implementing that make a noticeable difference on the field. Under Gio our gameplan to play out of the back has been to just give the ball to our fullbacks and have them play a pass to a central midfielder or winger, who usually has a defender on their back and often times will lose the ball. We're seeing the team click so much better in possession because of Miles (maybe I'm giving him too much credit and Gio was just really bad? Eh) and it's great to see.
Then something I observed myself this game was Paredes playing much more disciplined and not going up high as much. He likes to press high and try to win the ball high up the field, which is great, but it leaves a lot of space in the midfield. He was doing none of that this game, he stayed back a lot and it really helped to plug up the midfield. So while maybe he didn't do much on the ball, I felt his positioning was really effective and key for the win. Or maybe he was just tired from playing so many minutes this season, who knows lol
I may be overreacting but hearing all this responses gives me so much hope. It seems the players are really responding well to the coaching change, and it shows that with just a slight upgrade in coaching this team can play so much better than they have. I thought we were going to get crushed this game, I'll be honest. But now I'm excited to see where this team will go for the last few months
Shoutout to u/rzle on reddit, he makes summaries of the pre and post game press conferences each week and it's super helpful when I don't have time to watch the whole thing. That's where I got all this info.
Okay, this is a little lunatic, but for anyone wanting to remove the spoilers from Season Pass while watching on a browser, I found a wonderful workaround described in the following reddit post:
It involves adding an extension on the browser then cutting and pasting some CSS code, and the spoiler scores vanish, and stay vanished so long as the site is up on your browser.
Not super hard, I'm not a coder at all but I was able to figure it out in a few minutes.
I found the Chrome browser to be the least glitchy when it comes to Season Pass.
Chrome extensions aren't available for the Chrome mobile browser, so it isn't as straightforward for mobile, unless you're part of the 87% of Americans who have an iPhone and therefore don't have to watch MLS Season Pass on a mobile browser.
Well dang, it feels like it’s been awhile since a Timbers recap thread had over 100 comments. Happy to see all the chatting and have it not be depressing!
A couple of things:
Mora is playing really well and is linking up and helping with possession. So much more flow with him.
Mabiala is less prone to defensive miscues when he doesn't have to play defense all the time, and our possession certainly helps with that. He had a really good game. His passing is a real benefit.
Bravo had a good game even without the goal. He was the key matchup and held Vela in check.
Evander looked like the bully on the playground, doing whatever he wanted. Awesome game from him.
McGraw - super solid.
Miller did great. He's no offensive juggernaut but he is super reliable as he demonstrated last night.
Bingham has taken the job and is not letting go. I can respect that.
Joseph is set on his rotation, and it is working, so kudos to him for how it is playing out. We'll see how it works on the road in another big game next week.
Moreno's moments continue to be when he is playing centrally. His flick on, for example, when he drifted in, and I still maintain he is not at his best as a winger.
Yimmi underwhelmed for the most part.
Blanco is still super dangerous and can provide opportunities. He's going to be a great asset down the stretch.
Paredes was so-so again offensively.
I'm not sure if Antony is going to get a good run or not. It looks like he is down in the pecking order, which is all right I guess.
Looking good! Great win! It's always great to send LA teams packing with an L.
Went to the game and had a great time. The team is really playing a lot better, and other than a 15 minute stretch after our first goal I felt we really outplayed the 3rd best team in the west. To be honest, this is the style of play I was expecting to see from the beginning of the season. We have younger players this year and a more attacking style should be what we have been doing the whole year. It looks like Evander and Moreno are both playing with more freedom, and are having a lot more fun playing as well. I'm not sure its enough to keep Moreno happy here in Portland, but it would help.
Enjoyed the game myself. Got a little luck on the first goal but nothing but happy for the second. Ran a clean sheet as well. It helps that Joseph is benefiting from a healthy Mora. I'll bet Gio wishes he'd had that but Moreno looks reborn. He's such a talented kid but he really needs to hone his craft. His eyes get caught on the keeper and the ball follows. I also think Parades is playing his best soccer. It just seems Gio's voice just got old to the players. It happens.
Obviously the coach has changed, however what has changed within the team's style of play? Well the attack is more varied, not wholly reliant on trying to break lines with a killer counter. Not sure about some of the direct long balls to Mora or Moreno, however the fact they are varying the attack we aren't predictable.
All this plus we are looking to retain possession, rather than constant counter is helping the defense transition.
Overall, a solid performance.
Bingham's distribution was terrible, he might as well kick the ball out of play and give us a chance to reset.
In the random soccer news category, Inter Miami tickets immediately dropped from $150 to $40 when it was revealed Messi couldn't make their game v. Atlanta.
Makes me *really hope this phenomenon is a one off and doesn't happen to Portland, regardless of results. I like being able to afford tickets.
Diego Chara just had an emergency appendectomy and will be out for a while:
Did anyone watch the Spanish broadcast with Valeri?
It was really great to see Mabiala have a good game. He was solid and almost brilliant on the second header attempt. He looked fit and physical and smart. Where did that come from? Pride?
Also, I really am liking the 433. I was kind of nervous about Evander playing in the second line of the 433, but it looks like he’s enjoying himself and he’s definitely getting opportunities to move and to connect. I do really wish that Asprilla would’ve come on for younger Chara. As much as I’d like the guy generally and adore, his older brother, his performance in the game was subpar. It would’ve been nice to have both Moreno and Asprilla as point people to receive balls. Asprilla is definitely better at that than Jimmy and his overall physical presence is an absolute menace.
The shift in mentality is really undeniable. But as someone else has said, there’s often a bit of a bump when a new manager hits. The real question is does his coaching philosophy and tactics stick and pay off long term. I’d also say that if Miles Joseph gets us into the playoffs, which quite frankly is a tough ask, and we do relatively well. I think he’s earned himself a front runner position for the full-time job. I do not think though that that should keep Ned and Company from casting a wide net which I fully agree with. If Portland wants to keep pace with the best clubs in MLS, they need to make sure they’re homegrown talent, players, or coaches, are quality enough to compete with the best talent from outside.
That was...weird? At half time I called it "the most unconvincing 1-0 lead I've seen in a long time". The Timbers struggled for coherence, and when you're seeing Larrys Mabiala score a goal, welll....hmmm.
I will happily take the win, and eat my words from yesterday; I'm just kinda confused as to how it happened. But three points are good!
I’m really torn as to our coaching situation. History has shown that most teams respond well to a mid season coaching change. It’s usually the next season that truly determines success or failure. I really like what our new coach has done. Has he done enough? Can he develop talent? Can he help Grabavoy make those tough decisions about getting rid of non performing players? I really want a new coach, but I will say that yesterday’s performance makes it harder to justify.