Two trips to Colorado, two 3-0 losses for the Portland Timbers.
And while it may be easy for interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson to say it’s déjà vu all over again, he said Wednesday’s 3-0 loss at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park had some positives that the last 3-0 defeat on June 30 lacked.
“By and large I can’t fault the effort or the work rate of the guys, and that’s an improvement from last time we came here where we sat back and didn’t play much and the other team had 60 percent of the ball,” Wilkinson said. “Tonight I think we kept the ball a little bit better; we did try to create chances. It’s still a young team. We’re looking for maturity and we need to learn from this.”
The Timbers possessed the ball nearly half the time on Wednesday, as compared to allowing 60 percent Colorado possession the first time around.
Where the Timbers fell apart, offensively anyway, was in the final third, creating just nine attempts on goal and one shot on target. Colorado, meanwhile, had six shots on goal resulting in tallies from Andre Akpan, Tony Cascio and Jaime Castrillon.
“I think the previous times we’ve come to Colorado we haven’t kept the ball,” Wilkinson said. “Some of the football [tonight] we played a little bit better, and on a different night maybe it’s a different result.”
That said, the Timbers were behind 2-0 before 30 minutes were gone, thanks to tallies from Andre Akpan and Tony Cascio.
“Individual errors cost us tonight,” Wilkinson said. “That’s not identifying any one player, but when you go on the road you need everyone to get their jobs done and win their individual battles. You can’t come on the road and give up chances and make individual errors, and that’s what cost us. We weren’t aware of players coming into the box, and I think you can isolate individual errors for the goals.”
Still, positives or not, the result is still a let down for a Portland team that came into the game riding their first two-game winning streak of 2012, which included a 1-0 victory over Colorado on Friday. The loss stretches Portland’s winless steak on the road to 13 games, a total that now includes 10 losses.
“I think we came here and our game plan never worked,” Timbers defender Steven Smith said. “We lost the goal early on, and I think when you lose a goal early you have to open your game plan. We maybe lost the shape a little bit, but I don’t think [the result] was a fair reflection. I think we had a lot of possession and a few chances ourselves. … There’s something that’s maybe dragging us down a little bit, the form on the road, and we’ve got to get a result somewhere.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.