It’s time to come home. Tacoma Defiance end a long road trip with the warm fires of the home hearth and burning Timber. The men in black start their three matches at home hosting Portland Timbers 2 on our inaugural Day of Defiance. The boys are surely ready for T2 and the boost of some home cookin’ and friendly support.
“It was difficult, but it’s a new phase for us, a new season. There’s some home games in a row coming up for us,” Coach Little said of the coming match. The result did not go Tacoma’s way in Oklahoma City, but he saw a process that should bear fruit in the future.
“We need to keep building on that – sticking to who we are, our identity. Build on that and we can impose ourselves on the opposition and we hope to do that against Portland.”
That the squad played best in their final match after a month away from home is a positive. It shows a roster willing to get gritty, to pursue destiny. The mentality of the players is strong – it is defiant.
“It’s not easy going on a lot of away games against top teams. It’s difficult, but there’s never a question mark for me on the mentality of the players. They are going to work. They are going to press. They are going to do all the things I want them to do. For us the next thing in the professional game is executing those key moments in both boxes – defending crosses, no errors in the back third, when we get our chances in the final third, taking the emotions out of it, and being ruthless. Those are the details that define winning and losing.”
It’s time to be ruthless
Tacoma is generating ten shots a game, but are a low conversion side. Coach Little wants to increase the types of shots taken, not necessarily just take more shots in general. Against OKC Energy FC, 7 shots were blocked. His key is for players to remove their emotion and “be efficient and ruthless.”
“I think we went for a spell where we weren’t generating chances. When you look at the back end of the road trip Phoenix, Oklahoma City, San Antonio our expected goals was nearly two a game, or higher. We were creating good chances. What we talked to our players about this week was that sometimes you don’t score in a while and you become emotional and try to overdo it. You take shots you normally wouldn’t take, as the decisions become emotional. Therefore you become less efficient and effective. We’ve spent time with them saying that they’ve created good chances, now it’s time to be efficient and ruthless.
Portland Timbers 2 notes
- Co-leading scorers (3 goals) Jadama and Langsdorf are symbolic of Portland’s approach to T2. Both are on MLS contracts. Five of their seven most used players are on MLS contracts.
- Central midfielder Eryk Williamson has 6 assists and entered the weekend as the co-leader in the USL Championship. Williamson is a product of the D.C. United Academy system whose rights were acquired by Portland Timbers via trade. He is a Homegrown Player. He leads Timbers 2 with 21 chances created.
- Jadama is particularly potent on set-pieces. His 3 goals all come from dead ball moments.
- Renzo Zambrano anchors the midfield winning duels like a classic six.
- T2 is winless in their last three going 0-1-2 in the stretch.
- T2 leads USL Championship with 12 road goals.
Tacoma Defiance notes
- Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Danny Leyva remain with the United States U-17 national team.
- Sam Rogers is back to full health. Rogers is part of the Defiance leadership group with Shandon Hopeau.
- Against OKC Energy FC Tacoma controlled possession (61%) and won more duels (51%).
- Defiance remain the passing leaders in the entire USL Championship. That’s true on a per game average and as a season total.
How to Watch
Stadium: Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, Washington
Kickoff Time: Sunday, May 12 (1:30 p.m.)
Home: Tacoma Defiance (2-8-0 -23)
Away: Portland Timbers 2 (4-2-3 +4)