PORTLAND, Ore. — Caleb Porter was not happy. Having seen his Portland Timbers team take the lead twice, only to see a win — what would have been their first of the season — slip away in the last minutes, Porter was as downcast as he ever gets, left clutching at silver linings in Rave Green storm clouds.
"The competitor me is dejected," he acknowledged. "For me, the way we played is encouraging, but the mistakes that we made in around our box, in around our backs — as encouraging as the performance was, that part of our team was very discouraging and concerning.
"It's one thing if your organization is leading to mistakes. I don't think that's the case. I thought overall, the way we played allowed us to score four goals and allowed us to dominate large portions of that game, and dictate the game."
He was especially unhappy with the performance of his defenders on the pivotal third Sounders goal, which sparked a comeback and an equalizer two minutes later. Lamar Neagle beat Michael Harrington on the right wing to deliver a ball into the middle, and Obafemi Martins held off Pa Moudou Kah to touch the ball into the path of Clint Dempsey, who blew past the stationary Alvas Powell to make his first touch and held the Jamaican international off to apply the finish.
"A game turns when players make mistakes around the goal," he said. "The third goal, it has nothing to do with organization. It has to do with making plays, stopping service, and tracking one of the best players on the field, Clint Dempsey.
"There's no excuse for a guy to be able to float to the back post and someone not pick him up, whether that's a midfielder tracking or it's the back four. For him to be free on that goal, and for us to give up a cross, comes down to making plays. We made some mistakes individually, critical mistakes individually that led to us giving up four goals.
"You should never give up four goals, and obviously you should never tie a game when you score four goals. I don't think it's an organization thing, it's an individual thing. We're making individual errors."
Individual errors become team failures, and five games into the 2014 Major League Soccer season, the Timbers are without a win, in seventh place in the West and leading MLS in goals allowed. He can talk about the process and the organization, but there's really not much for Caleb Porter to be happy about.
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