|Also, these get fucked up real fast.|
A couple, three weeks back, I posted a poll on twitter that gave a quartet of projected overall records (e.g., 6-5-3, 4-7-3, 8-2-4, etc.) with which the Portland Timbers would see out the 2017 season. I don’t remember the exact numbers (and that tweet lies buried beneath an avalanche of anti-Trumpublican venting), but I landed on each of those projections by going through the rest of Portland’s schedule and divining results based on the opposition, the venue for each game, and some vague potential plotlines for each opposing team going forward. I felt like science, people (if only social science).
How’d I do so far? I had the home game against Real Salt Lake carved in stone as an easy Portland win (violently nope!), and yesterday’s draw against the Houston Dynamo as a certain loss – both of those across all scenarios. As for the road win against the Vancouver Whitecaps, I put that down as either a loss or a draw, so…yeah, fucking psychic over here. If anyone out there wants help picking the ponies, I offer reasonable hourly rates. (A friend helpfully pointed out that I got the total number of points over the past three games right at least – four points out of nine.)
If I sound less confident than I used to over the past couple seasons about what’s happening with the Timbers, I guess my rebuttal is, can you blame me? If this team played soccer like it thwarts expectations, they’d win the triple every year.
As for yesterday, the best excuse I can offer for a bogus (and silent) “Lock of the Week” prediction was that the Dynamo team I expected didn’t show up. Part of that had to do with the twin Honduran terrors – Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto – starting the game on the bench. Portland countered with a line-up close enough to its starting eleven – and that’s even with Lawrence Olum starting in central defense (more later), and Darlington Nagbe and Sebastian Blanco starting on, at least what I assumed were the opposite of their usual assignments in the 4-2-3-1.
The Timbers opened the game strong (literally; just re-watched the condensed game and the team held possession through Nagbe’s opening shot inside the first minute), and they continued to find one another in space all the way to Diego Valeri’s opening goal. Some bad defending provided either the secondary or primary assist (Zarek Valentin fed Valeri, but, holy shit, did Leonardo make at least one terrible decision in playing that pass), but the Timbers earned that one. The team looked comfortable most of the evening, especially on the ball; the passing was respectably crisp and all concerned looked lively in spite of Houston’s sticky East Texas heat.