Portland Timbers conceding late again "not good enough" for Giovanni Savarese

When Felipe Mora scored in the 85th minute, Portland Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese thought he’d have a lot of positive things to talk about in his post-game press conference Saturday night.

That was the Timbers fourth goal of the game, which gave them a late two-goal lead against Real Salt Lake at Providence Park.

What followed — conceding twice late in a 4-4 tie — was unacceptable under any and all circumstances for Savarese.

“Today we did a lot of great things — we were winning, 4-2. Especially in the second half we were very good, we created chances and we even had chances to be able to go 5-2,” he said. “But then you cannot go and give up two goals in the last four minutes. There are mental lapses and it needs to be much better.

“When you score four goals at home, it’s a win. It cannot be a tie. You cannot lose. We tied 4-4 today and its very disappointing.”

Savarese said he takes “full responsibility” for the result, but added that some of his players will need to take a long, hard look in the mirror as well.

“I think some players need to understand that it’s not good enough in the end to give up two goals when you’re winning 4-2 in the last four minutes,” he said.

Conceding twice late in a draw against RSL comes on the heels of giving up three goals in the final 18 minutes of a 3-0 loss to bitter rival Seattle at Providence Park last Sunday.

“Against Seattle, it was the same,” Savarese lamented. “Great performance 73 minutes. We deserve to win, we have the game in control and then at the end we lose 3-0. Too many goals, at home. That’s not good enough.”

It’s in contrast to what he saw over the course of seven unbeaten games to win the MLS is Back Tournament last month.

“I think sometimes when you mentally have lapses and you don’t have a full XI the entire match engaged this is the situation that happens,” he said. “In Orlando, there was commitment, resilience, discipline all the way through the match.”

So how do the Timbers make sure these two games don’t become a trend? It starts with a honest assessment of these games before preparing for a visit from the LA Galaxy Wednesday (10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada).

“It’s on us, it’s on me. I have to analyze some of the substitutions, I have to analyze some of the things that happened at the end and we continue to work going forward,” Savarese said. "We have a great group that is very committed, but unfortunately these past two games, it’s not good enough to play 70 minutes, it’s not good enough to play 90 minutes. You have to play 94 [minutes].

“We gave away a well-deserved win that we had in our pockets already and it’s unfortunate because there were so many good performances, so many good goals. There was so much sacrifice and determination to get the points. And then we gave it up at the end. It’s not good enough.”

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