The Timbers took a point on the road at a consensus top-three team in MLS without their best player. Under any circumstances — and I mean any circumstances — that's a very good point.
So the Timbers have a lot to hold their heads high about this weekend.
But the way the game played out, with the Timbers twice taking the lead, including in the 71st minute by way of Sebastian Blanco's first goal in green and gold, the point comes with a twinge of regret.
Points are great. And the Portland Timbers took all three points from their Cascadia showdown with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday afternoon.
As a result, the Timbers still sit atop the MLS standings and it's hard to complain too much from the top.
Yet the Timbers' performance on Saturday against a Whitecaps team that's been in the midst of a serious road slump left a fair amount to be desired, as Portland's shorthanded attack struggled to keep control of a game that they led 2-0 at halftime.
The Portland Timbers are back to their winning ways.
After two consecutive games in which the Timbers dropped points in the final ten minutes, Caleb Porter's side made sure that wasn't going to happen again. Up a goal heading into the final minutes, Darren Mattocks drew a penalty and Fanendo Adi broke the club record for all-time goals-scored with the resulting finish.
Dropped points aren't good under any circumstances. And they're especially frustrating at home in a game that the Timbers otherwise dominated.
For the second consecutive week the Timbers let a positive, attainable, and deserved result slip away in the last ten minutes.
This problem for the Timbers is hardly an emergency as they still sit atop the Supporters Shield standings (albeit they're third on points per game), but lost points matter even when they come in the spring and even when the team is otherwise in a promising position in the table.
Caleb Porter tried on Wednesday night. He tried hard.
For eight-and-a-half minutes of his ten-minute press conference Porter qualified every bit of praise. He found every nit that there was to pick. He insisted that he still wanted more out of his team — more fitness, more goalscoring, more sharpness on the ball, more defensive discipline.
Welcome to the first edition of the Timber Cruise, a forest-level survey of the Timbers most recent game, this week their Preseason Tournament opener against Real Salt Lake.
The Timbers' priorities shift ever-so-gradually over the course of the preseason. In the first games in Tucson, the focus is fitness.