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Home no salve for Defiance’s woes

A good first half couldn’t make up for a dismal second from the Defiance

Jonathon Campbell was part of a backline that let in four against Timbers 2
Charis Wilson/Tacoma Defiance

TACOMA, Wash. — The Tacoma Defiance had hoped a return to Cheney Stadium against an opponent they have historically dominated would mean a return to winning; a poor defensive performance assured it didn’t. After a promising opening half from Tacoma it all went a bit pear shaped in the second to turn a first half draw into a 4-1 loss to the Portland Timbers 2.

The match started with the Defiance penned into their own end. They tried to relieve pressure by playing long to Justin Dhillon but it’s not their game so the ball came right back at them. Around the 10th minute they found their way and started moving the ball though the midfield. They quickly started to get high quality crosses into the box but no one was quite making the right runs so they couldn’t take advantage of their excellent wide play

Tacoma looked the more likely to score but in the 24th minute Jonathan made a wayward back pass that was easily intercepted by Foster Langsdorf around the penalty spot. Bryan Meredith came out but got man instead of ball. Langsdorf went down but the ref played advantage and Langsdorf was able to scramble to his feet. With Meredith on the ground behind him the finish was simple.

After the goal the Defiance were ascendant and almost got the equalizer when Danny Robles excellently lead a break in the 37th minute. He delayed near the top of the box to draw defenders to him and then got the ball wide to Shandon Hopeau who sent a great ball across the six-yard-box. Dhillon was there but made a bit of a mess of the finish and Jake Leeker saved it easily.

Dhillon soon made up for his botched finish when Portland had their own disastrous back pass in the 42nd minute. The Tacoma forward was first to the ball at the top of the box and hit an excellent strike with his first touch to finally reward the Defiance’s dominant back half of the first.

Unfortunately the start of the second half was as bad as the end of the first was good.A defense that had been as good as it had all season quickly disintegrated. In the 47th minute half-time sub Brayan Hurtado drove right at Sam Rogers in the box. Rogers still has some trouble when players go right at him one-on-one and this time was no different. In somewhat of a panic Rogers kicked wildly at the ball but caught Hurtado instead and the ref pointed to the spot. Dairon Asprilla hit a poor penalty but Meredith somewhat inexplicably whiffed on his attempt to stop it.

The Defiance backline just about held on for the next ten minutes but the edges were fraying. In the 59th minute a poorly held line was beaten easily by Hurtado who got in miles behind and had plenty of time to line up his shot which he sent past Meredith into the net. Three minutes later the line was again beaten as Asprilla got in behind in the box and finished easily for his brace.

After Portland’s forth the Defiance put together some sporadic good offensive moments but could not overcome the 20 minute dissolution of the defense to start the half.

This was a particularly frustrating loss because the offense was very good and the defense put in a solid to good first half. Once that second goal went in though, the Defiance completely lost their heads. You expect that to happen occasionally with such a young team but it has happened often enough that their is some worry of it becoming endemic. Furthermore, this was a Defiance back six with a decent amount of experience. Campbell, Alex Roldan and Henry Wingo are all MLS players who should not be allowing a USL team to tear them apart. When they get time with Tacoma they absolutely need to provide better leadership both for their own development and the development of the younger more inexperienced players playing beside them.

First Team call-up power rankings

(A quick explainer of my methodology: The rankings don’t take into account the roster situation of the First Team, so the player at #1 is the player not on a First Team contract most ready for MLS, not the player the Sounders need to fill out their roster. However, the player in Bold is the player most likely to be the first player given a contract by the Sounders taking into account their roster needs.)

  1. Sam Rogers
  2. Denso Ulysse
  3. Shandon Hopeau
  4. Josh Atencio
  5. Danny Robles


Match stats


Tacoma Defiance I 1-4 I Portland Timbers 2

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Venue: Cheney Stadium I Tacoma, Washington

Referee: Alejandro Mariscal

Assistants: Christian Clerc, Baboucarr Jallow

Fourth Official: Hunter Zachwieja

Weather: 64 degrees and partly cloudy

Attendance: 1,927


POR - Foster Langsdorf 24’

TAC - Justin Dhillon 42’

POR - Dairon Asprilla (penalty) 49’

POR - Brayan Hurtado (Jose Carlos Anguiano) 59’

POR - Dairon Asprilla (Eryk Williamson) 61’


POR - Eryk Williamson (caution) 38’

TAC - Nick Hinds (caution) 88’


TAC - Bryan Meredith; Henry Wingo, Sam Rogers, Jonathan Campbell, Nick Hinds; Alex Roldan (Antonee Burke-Gilroy 68’), Josh Atencio; Shandon Hopeau, Danny Robles, Marlon Vargas (Azriel Gonzalez 62’); Justin Dhillon (Alec Diaz 72’)

Substitutes not used: Trey Muse, Joel Rydstrand, Denso Ulysse, Jesse Daley

Total shots: 12

Shots on goal: 5

Fouls: 10

Offside: 2

Corner-kicks: 6

Saves: 4

POR - Jake Leeker; Nathan Smith, Modou Jadama, Claude Dielna, Marco Farfan; Todd Wharton, Jose Carlos Anguiano (Cristian Ojeda 76’); Dairon Asprilla, Eryk Williamson, Marvin Loria (Brayan Hurtado HT); Foster Langsdorf (Gio Calixtro 66’)

Substitutes not used: Kash Oladapo, Harold Hanson, Max Ornstil, Ryan Sierakowski

Total shots: 13

Shots on goal: 8

Fouls: 9

Offside: 2

Corner-kicks: 5

Saves: 4

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