Portland's defense expands the Galaxy's offense
In the culmination of a whirlwind week, the Portland Timbers could not keep pace with the offensive onslaught brought by the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night. Less than 30 minutes after Kris Boyd’s third-minute goal that sent Jeld-Wen Field into a flurry, the Timbers were staring a three-goal deficit in the face after LA’s three Designated Players combined for four goals in a 9-minute span.
While the Galaxy showed their class, they had a dance partner in the Timbers defense. David Beckham was left with tons of space on his first goal and he left Troy Perkins little chance of saving his bending 35-yard shot.
Making his home debut, Kosuke Kimura committed two fouls that might have turned the game. His first foul was followed by a Beckham swerving free kick goal, while his second was in the penalty area and allowed Landon Donovan to give the Galaxy a 3-1 lead.
Kimura was not the only Timbers defensive player that was to blame. Not one of the six defensive-minded players for the Timbers can be proud of their performance in front of the 20,438 fans at Jeld-Wen Field.
Despite the five goals given up by the players, interim coach Gavin Wilkinson was quick to take accountability following the match.
“I’ll take the blame for this one,” said Wilkinson, who was returning to the Timbers sideline for the first time since the end of the 2010 season.
And when asked what he told the players in the locker room after the match, Wilkinson told the media he simply said “they get a pass on this one because it’s all me.”
Despite taking the blame, the former defender did not mince words when it came to the team’s defensive performance.
“The defending was awful,” Wilkinson said.
Despite the defense’s propensity for allowing their opponents to score goals on Saturday night, the Timbers still had a chance due to Kris Boyd.
The Scotsman notched his first brace of the season and he had a foot in the Timbers other goal as his free kick was spilled by Josh Saunders and pounced on by Kimura. Despite Boyd’s performance, Portland was unable to capitalize on its second three-goal game of the season.
The Timbers will likely to continue to lose when they give opponents space to operate in the area surrounding the top of the 18-yard box. The loss of Diego Chara was felt as Lovel Palmer and Jack Jewsbury were unable to prevent LA from taking numerous shots from midrange distances. Palmer was subbed off at halftime for Timbers Homegrown Player, Brent Richards. It was Richards first appearance in a MLS league match.
Portland will try to correct itself as it starts a mini 2-game road trip Wednesday afternoon at Chivas USA. The Chivas match will be followed by game against James Marcelin and FC Dallas. The three teams make up the bottom spots in the Western Conference standings.
While giving up five goals at home is a terrible start to Wilkinson’s second tenure as head coach, road win(s) might be one way to get the 2012 season back on track.