PORTLAND, Ore. – Troy Perkins is never one to shy away from taking responsibility.
And the Portland Timbers veteran goalkeeper laid all of it on his shoulders after his team’s 1-0 loss to Chivas USA on Saturday night at JELD-WEN Field. He said he made the wrong decision when he jumped off the line to challenge Danny Califf’s header on a set piece in the 68th minute. Perkins was a blink of an eye late, and Califf’s effort found the back of an open net.
HIGHLIGHTS: Portland 0, Chivas USA 1
“It’s my fault,” Perkins told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s just one of those situations where you see a big gap in front of you and that line just pops up and you just kind of make a quick decision. And unfortunately, it wasn’t the right one. Three inches and I make the play. It’s just one of those things.”
In hindsight, Perkins said he should have stayed home.
“Shoulda, coulda, woulda, I guess,” he said.
It was a rare mistake for a ‘keeper in the midst of another quality season in his seven-year career. Coming into the game, Perkins was fourth in MLS with 63 saves. And he made another two in an otherwise stellar game against Chivas USA.
But interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson said having the peace of mind to make the right decisions is something he’s been preaching to his players since he took over for fired head coach John Spencer three weeks ago. He also faulted midfielder Franck Songo’o for conceding the free kick when he grabbed Chivas midfielder Paolo Cardozo after he was beaten on defense, a play for which Songo’o was shown yellow.
“What we talk about is discipline and making the right choices in the right areas,” Wilkinson said. “And that’s all I can say.”
Regardless, Perkins was noticeably upset in the postgame locker room, saying he spoiled an otherwise commendable effort by a team that has had few positives in the last month. Striker Kris Boyd didn’t quite see it that way, however, saying the entire team needs to accept blame.
“It’s a team game; we’ve all made mistakes,” said Boyd, who had six shots with three on goal. “I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say I should have scored two, maybe three, maybe four goals tonight.”
It was indeed a quality effort by Portland, despite coming away empty-handed. Portland made 19 attempts on goal with six shots on target. And they finished with a 54 percent possession advantage.
“We fought hard,” Perkins said, “and I think the chances we created were a result of our better shape.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.