Portland Timbers

Setting the stage… PTFC vs LAG

The Portland Timbers Football Club takes on the LA Galaxy Football Club tomorrow in front of a nationally televised audience dead smack in the middle of the NFL…  

I wonder how those ratings will play out tomorrow… I’m hopeful the TV share will be competitive!  

For me, and perhaps many others, there simply is no comparison between “football (soccer)” and the droll, dull, timeout driven, commercial driven, (referee’d by 8 guys) game that has gone way past its sell by date…

In all this build-up the game time temperature and weather conditions should be perfect for a football match; a bit windy, rainy and slightly chilly where the need for a Football scarf is more about actually needing one to keep the neck warm.  Perhaps some supporters will bring two – one to actually use and one to help show the emotional energy they have.

As to the players – both coaches know their squads and if you follow either or both teams it is likely you have a good idea who will be starting…  at this stage both Coaches know what they want and how to go about maximizing that opportunity based upon who plays… for those that second guess the starting lineup for either team… get a life.

Bottom line here is that Porter and Arena have been shaping and molding their players and team approach for some time; Arena obviously quite a bit longer than Porter and if you recall the last time these two went head-to-head that extra bit of emotion coming from Caleb (when Baptiste got that winning goal) had more to do with Caleb feeling satisfied about ‘his approach’ and how his team has taken shape then about any personal battle with Arena.

Ego’s come into this game big-time from the sideline and they should.  While most might liken this game to a chess match between coaches it really isn’t.

It is so much more than that…

There are no major limitations on how and where players can rotate and move about the pitch; yes some guys are more limited than others but in chess Bishops can only move diagonally, Knights in their “L” shape fashion, pawns ever plodding forward while Rooks are front to back or side to side.

The only piece on a chess board that comes close to matching the flexibility of a player on the pitch is a Queen’ moving anywhere, anytime to help bolster an attack or defense.

So in reality there are 20 Queens on the pitch and two Kings (goalies) and the referee; who has rules to go by can also have flexibility in how they interpret those rules given playing conditions and locations/tenor of fouls given.

So a chess match; bollocks… this is pure competition of not only players but philosophies of how those players interact based upon guidance, direction and policy of their head coach!

If you play chess perhaps it might be interesting to play a game where every piece but one is a Queen…  the match-up of the previous century (Fischer versus Spasky) takes on a whole new meaning if those guys go toe-to-toe with 15 Queens and one King.

I’m up for a game of chess like that… as for being the head coach on the sideline; no way – for those two guys I sure hope the passion for the game outweighs the stress!

Next up my match analysis… 


Chris Gluck

I have been covering the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer, as a community blogger/analyst for the Columbian Newspaper, since June, 2012 and occasionally write for Soccer Yanks. A recent highlight in my short time as an MLS Analyst was being invited to present my Possession with Purpose MLS Soccer Analysis at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. With the increased visibility of my work I have created a new Domain at www.possessionwithpurpose.com. My background in soccer started in the United Kingdom, where, as an American, I was the General Manager and President of an English Youth Football Club just outside of Thetford, England. (Barnham Bulldogs FC). I also served as a head coach for U-11/12's, and obtained my English FA Youth License Certification through Norwich City FC. Upon returning to the U.S., I was an Assistant Coach and eventually a Head Coach within the Ajax Youth Football Club organization, Kent Washington. I have recently started a small business ...Possession with Purpose (Soccer Analysis & consulting) and I retain COPYRIGHT on The Possession With Purpose ideas and research published on these sites.