Caleb Porter stresses simple things after Timbers' comeback draw

PORTLAND, Ore.—The drama was high Saturday night at Providence Park, as the Portland Timbers rallied from two goals down late in the second half to pull out a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake.

Head coach Caleb Porter, however, would prefer things just a bit more simple.

The Timbers boss pointed to the need for adjustments after his side was only able to grab a point, despite two RSL players being sent off. He lamented giving up the opener against the run of play in the first half on a Joao Plata free kick, and then allowing the visitors adding to pad their lead while down a man in the second half on a Yura Movsisyan breakaway.

“You can’t be giving up against the run of play like that, that’s happened the last two games, and that puts you in a tough position,” Porter said. “And then obviously in the second half you give up the second one, another one against the run of play, and it makes it difficult.”

Porter was referring to their 2-1 loss last weekend to San Jose, when they also conceded the first two goals despite dominating shots and possession stats. Against RSL, the numbers were particularly lopsided: the Timbers held a 26-7 shots advantage and controlled 67 percent of the possession.

It finally paid off with a Fanendo Adi brace on a rebound goal in the 79th minute and then a penalty kick in the 84th.

“I think we played pretty well and created chances, but like coach said the finishing was really poor,” said Adi, who now has three goals on the season. “But I think we’ll get it right if we keep working on it.”

As for worrisome trends for the defending MLS Cup champs, Porter isn’t much concerned yet. He pointed to the chances they’re creating in the attack and the few they’re allowing on the other end of the pitch. Portland leads the league with 62 shots, while Porter also noted that they’ve been without captain and center back Liam Ridgewell the last two games. The Timbers are also integrating a new left back in Zarek Valentin.

“When you out-shoot a team and don’t score enough and don’t give up many chances and they end up scoring, for me that’s a pattern we’ve got to break,” Porter said. “And it comes down to making sure in those moments we’re clinical in finishing and we limit those errors and those mistakes that lead to goals.”