KeyBank Match-Up of the Match: Timbers vs. Expectations
The Portland Timbers sit at the bottom of the Western Conference with only one point in the first three games of their inaugural MLS season. That said, it hasn’t been all gloom and doom.
Watching those three games it is easy to point to a positive progression: a blowout in Colorado, followed by a better performance but close defeat at Toronto FC, and then a gutsy draw at New England. Throw in a U.S. Open Cup qualifying win at Merlo Field against Chivas USA and many are expecting the natural next step would be a glorious win at home against the Chicago Fire.
But that very assumption and the expectations that comes with it, brings us to Timbers soccer analyst Robbie Earle’s KeyBank Match-up of The Match.
KeyBank Match-up of the Match
Yes, there will be thousands of fans shaking the new JELD-WEN Field to its very foundation, but head coach John Spencer has been wisely preaching all week that the fans alone will not be able to win the game.
For all the wonderful hoopla and exhilaration around the new uniforms, the excellent pitch, the arrival of Major League Soccer in Portland, and the outstanding new stadium, there’s still a game to be played. The Fire, almost relegated to a bit player in the overall grand narrative of the home opener, did not come to Portland just to roll over. They’re here to play and they’ll be in no mind to simply serve as sacrificial lambs.
The Timbers cannot afford to get overly swept up in the moment for no matter how great (or bad) the result may end up being, at stake are the same three points that every other 2011 MLS regular season game will hold.
Though the expectations coming into this specific are at an all-time high, they are not insurmountable. If Portland is going to win, they’ll need to acknowledge the electric energy surrounding the night and channel it into a focused and well-orchestrated performance on the field.
Do that, and the Timbers might just make for a truly unforgettable evening.