Mistake-plagued Timbers desperate to avoid costly errors

Portland look to correct defensive lapses, steal 3 points at Chicago

John Spencer, Timbers vs. Club America, 7.7.11

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

PORTLAND, Ore. — If Portland Timbers head coach John Spencer hasn’t made it clear by now, he certainly did Thursday at his team’s final home training before Saturday’s match against the Chicago Fire (5:30pm PT, Fox 12, Estrella TV, 750 AM The Game,La Pantera 940 AM).

It doesn’t matter who the Timbers are playing, he noted, what their record is or who takes the field for the opposition. It’s all about his team in green.

“The game is won and lost by little mistakes all the time,” Spencer said. “The teams that win games consistently are the teams that don’t make mistakes and make errors.”

Had Portland not committed mistakes in recent games, he said, there would be a far different storyline surrounding the club. But as it is, the Timbers allowed extra-time goals in a loss against Colorado and a draw with New York, as well as squandered two different leads in their home loss to Seattle last Sunday.

Spencer acknowledged that he can have his team practice defense and finishing all day long, but it comes down to players translating that to actual matches.

“You don’t get anything for [being] unlucky,” he added.

Chicago’s speedy forward Dominic Oduro, who leads the Fire with five tallies on the season, will be sure to make life especially challenging for a leaky Timbers defense that has allowed 12 goals in the last four games.

“They definitely have speed,” Timbers midfielder and captain Jack Jewsbury said. “I think [our] guys are aware of that. The possession game on the road to keep us from defending is another way to counter their speed up top.”

Don’t think Spencer and his crew are over-confident going into the Saturday match at Toyota Park, despite the fact that Portland beat Chicago 4-2 in the Timbers’ home opener April 14. Both teams are coming into the game with 18 points. Chicago have not won since June 12, while Portland have lost three straight and are winless in their last seven matches.

“They’ll be looking at us, with their recent record, saying it’s a great chance for [them] to get a run this season,” Spencer said. “It’s a great chance for [them] to avenge what we did to them in the first game at JELD-WEN.