The Portland Timbers crashed back to earth in dramatic fashion on Saturday night.
Coming off the high of a 2-1 victory over the archrival Seattle Sounders last Sunday, Portland showed nothing that resembled the quality from the franchise’s signature victory less than a week ago in a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids.
“We had a great performance last week,” Timbers head coach John Spencer told reporters. “I said to them, ‘You’ve got go out, you’ve got to match it. Everybody’s eyes are on us again, saying can you play away from home, can you do this, can you do that.’ And we never put [those questions] to bed.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Colorado 3, Portland 0
The offense that created 15 attempts on goal and six shots on target against Seattle withered into the hot, windy night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Portland managed just seven attempts on goal, two shots on target, in a listless offensive performance.
The Timbers were dominated in every sense of the word, from possession to duels won to passing accuracy.
“I thought that we came out slow from the get-go,” Timbers defender and captain Jack Jewsbury said. “We were second to everything tonight. Bottom line, it wasn’t good enough.”
And if the Seattle victory did wonders for the mindset and storyline that surrounded the team previously, Saturday’s performance left the Timbers right back where they started. All that momentum is gone, and along with it a chance to move up the Western Conference standings.
As it is, Portland will remain in eighth place with 16 points from 15 games. The Timbers fall to 0-5-2 on the road this year and have just two wins away from JELD-WEN Field since joining MLS last year.
“We’ve been trying to put our finger on it for a while, what exactly it is to get us going,” Jewsbury said. “We’ve tried a lot of different things. I think it’s just a matter of us, as a group, coming together and saying, ‘Hey, it’s not good enough.’
“We’re a better team than we are playing on the road. It can’t just be at home when the crowd is behind us, and it is easy in that sense. We’ve got to be able to create our own energy on the field whether it’s home or away.”
And there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The Timbers will have just two days to prepare for a July 3 match against the first-place San Jose Earthquakes at JELD-WEN Field.
“We’ve got a game in a little over 48 hours now,” goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. “If we don’t get points in this game, we’re in a really bad spot. We’ve got to keep pushing and keep pressing.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.