Unpacking Portland

The first 45 minutes against Portland Timbers 2 show a path forward for Tacoma Defiance.

Heading into halftime against Portland Timbers 2 Coach Little could feel good about his squad’s chances. Young, hungry, and with a chance to win is a good place to be. The 1-1 draw at the time developed via the style of play he’s taught Tacoma Defiance.

“I thought we were the better team in the first half. We had some good chances.”

It was similar to what worked in the road match at OKC Energy FC. Pressure in the middle of the pitch lead to scoring opportunities.

“I think we created three or four very, very good chances to score. If we can generate four or five good chances per game, I think you’re pretty happy. What you have to look at then is the execution. That’s not quite there yet.”

Justin Dhillon’s 99 appears four of the seven first half shots from the T2 match. That includes his goal. He’s been aggressive getting into spaces of opportunity. Players that regularly put themselves in threatening spaces eventually score goals.

Five minutes after that miss, Dhillon scored his first goal of the season for Tacoma Defiance. Sunday’s goal should lead to more of those threatening shots becoming goals.

“I’ve had a lot of chances that I should have put away before now. To get that one to drop is going to give me some confidence moving forward,” Dhillon said postgame. “The team obviously sets up a lot of opportunities for me, and to have that confidence to hit the back of the net more often I think is ultimately going to help us get some more results.”

So far, 2019 is a study in process rather than results.

“When we walk away we’ve lost and that defeat hurts. So we break down the film and work even harder. We work with the players and we work to improve them, to get better. It’s a process,” Little emphasized.

Defiantly Tacoma

Next Tacoma Defiance home match versus Reno 1868 FC on May 18 at 7 p.m. (tickets available here).