Heading into their away matchup Saturday with the New England Revolution, Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said his side would have a take-no-prisoners approach in going for all three points.
And that’s precisely what Porter felt they should have had following a late offside call that wiped away Portland’s would-be game winner.
Gaston Fernandez was ruled offside on his 68th-minute run that resulted in him chipping past Bobby Shuttleworth and Portland were forced to share the spoils with New England following their 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium.
“We got the wrong end of the call, that’s the reality,” Porter told the media in his postgame comments. “I’ve just seen it, and it’s a goal. It’s a goal. So that’s fine, I’ll come off as the whiner, but that’s the reality, we should have had it. So we should have won the game; that’s frustrating.”
The run-up to the goal came as Portland threw numbers forward in the second half after the Revs struck first via a Charlie Davies goal in the 27th minute. With the game tied 1-1 after Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell hit the equalizer in the 65th minute, Maximiliano Urruti was unlocked on a break. He fed Fernandez on the left wing for what would have been a goal, but the assistant referee’s flag shot up.
But that wasn’t the only frustration on the night for Porter.
Expecting his side to throw more caution to the wind in the non-conference matchup, Porter lamented the Timbers’ inexplicably sluggish start.
“First half, I thought we were a bit flat, dug a hole for whatever reason,” Porter said. “That’s on me. Coaches are the ones who get their teams ready, and for some reason some guys weren’t ready. So that’s disappointing.”
It’s ultimately another misstep for Portland as they continue to their quest to move above the red line, leaving them in sixth place with 31 points from 24 games.
“It wasn’t everybody; it was a few guys,” Porter said of the slow start. “At this stage, we can’t let that happen, we need to play with urgency. We ended up getting the point, but we end up playing a little bit better in the first half and maybe we get three points.”
Portland came out flying in the second half, yet could only capitalize on a surprising run and strike from Ridgewell, the newly signed center back Designated Player. Porter liked the fight to rally for a point but felt there were plenty more opportunities the Timbers could have cashed in on.
“I think it is what it is,” he said. “Can’t do anything about what just happened. We’ve got to move on. I don’t think we’re happy with a point, but I don’t think we’re disappointed either because at the end of the day we came from behind.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.