Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer
The Portland Timbers head to Toronto FC this weekend after a frustrating and disappointing result in last week’s matchup against the Colorado Rapids. Expectations, hope, and excitement were all riding high leading into the team’s inaugural match only to run into the buzzsaw of a three goal onslaught in the first 30 minutes.
Head coach John Spencer spoke in training this week about desire and making sure the team continued to carry that energy and focus throughout an entire game. Without it, the team could find itself back at square one.
“If we approach the game the same way 15-20 minutes of madness that we had in Colorado, we’re going to find ourselves in the same position again.”
The saying that sometimes you can be your own worst enemy comes to mind as we present Timbers soccer analyst Robbie Earle's Match-up of the Match:
KeyBank Match-up of the Match
For this Saturday’s match, both the Timbers and the Reds are coming off opening game defeats. Toronto, still adjusting to new head coach Aron Winter’s 4-3-3 possession strategy, lost their Canadian rivalry match against the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-2. Staggering back to the welcoming arms of their BMO Field home opener, Toronto is looking forward to be back in familiar surroundings.
In Earle's analysis, with all due respect to Toronto FC, this weekend's match is less about what Toronto does and more about the Timbers’ response following last week’s Colorado struggle. Does the team believe they can come out and show who they really are?
For Spencer, the task is clear.
“I’m not concerned about Toronto,” he said at training this week.
My concerns are about the Portland Timbers. Whether Toronto goes out and get beat 4, 5, 6, or whether they win 4, 5, 6; I concentrate on our own team.”
The big word that Spencer has been focusing on instilling throughout his squad since day one is, “desire.”
“It’s a tremendous word. If you don’t have the desire to compete at any sport that you play, you’re going to lose,” he said.
That’s what we have to come out and do in the first 15-20 minutes. We need to show a desire to match them for whatever they’re throwing at us. We’ve got to be up there standing taking punches and giving some back.”