PORTLAND, Ore. – Losing 5-0 is going to leave a mark.
And for the members of the Portland Timbers defense, the scars from their lopsided defeat two weeks ago at FC Dallas are still fresh.
For them, it's personal.
“For sure,” said central defender David Horst, who will get his first shot at revenge when FCD meet the Timbers on their turf Sunday at JELD-WEN Field (4pm PT, NBC Sports Network, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940). “Not just the defense, but the whole team, the whole organization. We definitely weren’t happy with that game at all, so we’re going out there with a little extra motivation. And we don’t want to let that happen again.”
And if the Timbers are to begin a long climb back to respectability, doing it at home against Dallas would be a fitting place to start. It was at FC Dallas Stadium on July 21 where Portland hit rock bottom with a punchless effort in that 5-0 humiliation.
Interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson called it an embarrassment and said he saw his players quit.
“It was a reality check for us,” defender Steven Smith said. “We knew it wasn’t good enough.”
Horst said they quickly took away the on-field lessons from the performance and then filed it away. But the theme at Timbers camp this week was not tactics or strategy, but more about regaining confidence and a certain “swagger” at home – not to mention extracting a measure of revenge against the team that dealt such a big blow.
“We’ve got to get a little bit of arrogance about ourselves on our home field and then certainly carry that on the road with us,” goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. “We’ve got to have a chip on our shoulder everywhere we go now and really be a little upset with the way people think of us and the way people treat us.”
The team was happy with the way they responded in the game following the Dallas result, a dominating performance that produced 20 shots but no goals in what became a dispiriting 1-0 loss to Chivas USA.
Still, Smith sees that game as one to look toward for confidence.
“We created a lot of chances,” Smith said. “As I say, I think we should have won the game or got something from it. We know we’ve got to do something to put [the Dallas game] right. The Chivas game, performance-wise, was a step in the right direction. We didn’t get anything from the game, but it’s a performance we can build on.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.