by Kelly McLain
Despite a 19 to 6 attempts-on-goal advantage, and winning most every other statistical category, the Portland Timbers were unable to score on any of their numerous attempts losing 1-0 to Chivas USA Saturday night at JELD-WEN Field.
The result marks the fifth league loss in a row for Portland.
Portland came out with an attacking mindset and did not relent for the entirety of the first half, but they just couldn’t get on the board. Kris Boyd had two good looks that he couldn’t finish, and Brent Richards, getting his first MLS start, had another two chances that stayed out of the net as well. The teams went to halftime knotted in a scoreless draw.
The second half was much of the same with the Timbers unable to capitalize on any of their chances. Chivas wasn’t quite so apathetic towards putting the ball into the net and used a free kick to set up Danny Califf’s game-winning header in the 68th minute.
After the game, interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson said:
“It can be a cruel, cruel sport at times. I think some of the football we played was very productive, and ultimately you’ve got to finish your chances.”
He is right of course. Just ask John Spencer. Portland now have lost all four games since the club dismissed the former head coach and Wilkinson took over in an interim role.
“I think you’ve always got to reassess. It was something that we were using to try and inspire the group to look at, saying, ‘Here’s where we would like to be.’ Is it out of reach? No. Would we need to go on a hell of a run?
Yes. But when Merritt [Paulson] put me into this position, he said, ‘Start to try to find out more about the group.’ I think we have made some strides in certain areas. You could see the system that we were trying to play tonight. You could see what we were trying to do, how we were trying to create things.
And again, I just think we missed that final product, but we will continue to reassess and find different ways to motivate the players.”
Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy made six saves and his coach Robin Fraser was quick to praise him:
“Dan’s been very good all year. Obviously he made the All-Star Team because of it. He’s playing with a lot of confidence, and I’ve been saying this all year and hopefully can stop saying this at some point.
As you’re building your team you need to make sure you stay in games, and as you’re building your style of play, you need to make sure you stay in games, and certainly Dan’s done a great job of allowing us to do that.”
Portland (5-12-4, 19 pts.) remain at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. They play host to FC Dallas next Saturday.
POR: GK Perkins, D Kimura (Mwanga, 86), D Mosquera, D Horst, D Smith, M Nagbe, M Jewsbury ©, M Chara, F Richards (Alexander, 74), F Boyd, F Songo’o (Alhassan, 74)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Bendik, D Purdy, M Wallace, F Fucito
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Boyd, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Boyd, 3); FOULS: 7 (Chara, Horst, 2); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 11; SAVES: 2
CHV: GK Kennedy, D Califf ©, D Riley, D Valencia, D Jazic, M Bolaños, M Cardozo (Moreno, 76), M LaBrocca, M Zemanski, M Romero (Agudelo, 62), F Angel (Townsend, 79)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Melia, D McKenzie, F Correa, F Villafaña, F Townsend
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Cardozo, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Bolaños, Califf, Cardozo, 1); FOULS: 15 (Bolaños, Riley, Romero, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 6
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistant Referees: Mike Kampmeinert, Marco Arruda
4th Official: Jesus Cisneros
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Sunny, 77 degrees