Fanendo Adi, on loan from FC Copenhagen of Denmark, hit home his first two goals of his MLS career in his first start for the Portland Timbers at Chivas USA. Portland managed to end a successful road trip with two straight wins away from Oregon. Chivas USA looked lost as they timidly played defense and had no answers up front, especially from top striker Erick Torres. Frustration played a part once again in the team’s 2-0 loss to their visitors.
Adi showed that he knows how to position himself inside the area between defenders while also knowing when and how to take a shot on frame, depending on where the keeper is positioned. He also showed that he has enough skill and patience to jog around a keeper before slotting calmly into an empty net. He is only 23-years-old but has the mentality and skill of a veteran. The kid has a bright future in soccer.
Portland won 2-1 in New jersey on Saturday against the New York Red Bulls before flying across country to win 2-0 against Chivas earlier tonight. This was the first clean sheet for Donovan Ricketts, which will boost the team’s morale and confidence before their next game which will be at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Chivas were unable to play their game even though they also played a 4-2-3-1 formation. Let’s remember that Portland has been in this system for a bit longer and their players are still able to play creatively from within their respective positions. They are also able to shift around the field depending on the circumstances. The hosts tried to play defense and build at times to push forward but the Timbers were simply not having it. Torres was unable to inspire his team on the goal front which proves that he cannot get it done on his own.
Later in the game, Chivas defender Bobby Burling was automatically ejected after wiping Adi off the ball, and then proceeded to jaw at the Timbers bench. Frustration of being 2-0 down deservedly hit him hard, which caused him to lose his temper. If he and others act this way, they will never be a winning team as emotions can make or break team performances.
Tonight, Portland was a better team even though they were on the road. Coach Caleb Porter is finally influencing this team to concentrate and succeed on both sides of the ball, which is what it will take to be champions. There are better teams, but if they get better, they can outclass those teams to the top.