Rarely have I seen Caleb offer less emotion than he did in his quick post-game conference… (here).
Just a whole lot that went on with that game… too much in some cases, and it will be a hard slog to regain the confidence this team needs to carry on.
In as much as I’d like to walk through this game with you all I won’t… too many things went pear-shaped and most know what they are.
But Caleb has proven he’s a leader so first things first I’m sure he’ll dig right in and take the challenge (head on) on how this team prepares to right the ship for San Jose.
I hope so – I’d hate to see this season end without the Timbers making the playoffs!
In terms of getting things ready…
There’s gaps to be sure – but there’s opportunity as well.
Sometimes when a couple of good players go missing it provides a great impetus for others to step up and lead; for me that’s a positive to build from in preparation for San Jose.
What we already know is the defense needs to get better – we also know Diego Valeri has great vision – well it’s time for others like Darlington Nagbe to step up and show whether his playing with Valeri has increased his vision and leadership…
In terms of the attacking strategy of San Jose – like Toronto – they play direct and will pump in crosses – especially on set-pieces.
I personally think the aerial defending on crosses will need to be ‘superb’ this game – if that means starting Norberto Paparatto so be it!
With respect to the midfielders – all of them – you simply can’t watch the back four defend – they need to be part of the solution – not part of the problem…
Getting behind the ball against San Jose will be hard because they play longer passes – but it has to be done!
No excuses – it’s time for the Timbers to show real character and take three points when others might think it’s a bridge too far.
I don’t think it’s impossible; I think they can win but they aren’t going to win if they keep conceding goals!
All for me for now… if you wanted my thoughts about the game then the opinions I offered in my tweets haven’t changed…
For those new to the phrase ‘good idea’ – it’s not about assists – it’s about players having or showing vision that generates an opportunity for a teammate to score a goal. In other words ‘what doesn’t get measured‘ in soccer statistics – a pet peeve of mine’…
There’s nothing more pleasing to a Head Coach than a player who executes a ‘good idea’. And perhaps the most effective player last night was Michael Nanchoff – hence the two assists and rocket-like, inswinging, curler (he delivered from his inverted winger position) that shook the far post netting in the second half.
With the enthusiasm many will have from this game – and rightly so – I think it’s reasonable to offer some balance here about Alpha United.
It wasn’t clear to me the first time these two teams played (given the cricket pitch and not witnessing the game) just how poor the first touch and overall ball control was for Alpha United.
So I’d offer, that poor ball management, by Alpha United, had a whole lot to do with the greater volume of excess time and space the Timbers had to score those goals – what’s positive about this is that the Timbers DID score those goals – given that added time and space.
The other thing I noticed was the frequency of the United players taking minor injuries in the lower leg areas.
For me that signaled the pitch conditions were not normal for them. I have no idea if Alpha have ever played on field turf but it’s certainly not the same as playing on a cricket pitch. Just saying…
Anyhow, this isn’t to diminish the great result – never poo-poo a win; but the context merits the need to balance the difference between regular season MLS games and the run-up to a new round of CCL games…
Lest we forget, Olimpia did score two goals against the Timbers and that means the next game is not a push-over.
In between now and October 21st the Timbers really need to take some big points in order to help set the stage for a stronger side to take on Olimpia in Hondurus and finish the job!
Making the next round of the CCL (IS) critical… along with that comes prestige and a greater opportunity to convince better players to join this side next year.
I don’t offer that lightly.
(When) the Timbers qualify for that next round, in the Champions League, the pressure to perform will be even higher.
That means four things (at least – if not more) on the surface:
I’d almost offer that the time for waiting to see if junior squad players can play 90 minutes, regularly, in the MLS is about gone… in other words fringe players are on the fringe of non-existence…
The salary cap will go up – as will the level of competition given the talent continuously being added to MLS. Nevermind what influence comes as part of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Players Union…
A few questions in no particular order come to mind:
Plenty of questions as MLSNext begins –> More to follow…
With all that said I have what I think is some good news…
For the future – at least after the press field pass gets sorted out – Mr. Steven Lenhart (Nevets) will be helping to add value to my offerings as my official photographer.
Looking forward to that and hope it can be sorted by the time Real Salt Lake visit Portland on the 17th of October.
Nothing could be more further from the truth – but when a player hits a stunning volley, like Diego Valeri did, it’s bound to make the headlines.
And even my TV buddy, sitting beside me, said it was going to be real hard to offer up anything on telly other than the superb goals by Valeri and Fenando Adi.
I agree – to an extent…. BUT!
Let’s not forget the Timbers got a clean sheet here – and the single greatest impact on that effort rested with Diego Chara.
At the half – when the score was still just one-nil – anything could have happened.
And it did – but the ‘did’ part was two more superb goals by Adi.
Yet… the time and space that opened up for those two counter-attacking strikes doesn’t come about unless you have a solid back-four and a midfield that can quickly transition into attack.
Bottom line here is this was the single best game this team has played all season… hands down!
And given the standings – it couldn’t have come at a better time!
So with that said – put it in the past – that game is over and next up is Alpha United – and the Champions League.
All told there are five more games, for a possible 15 points, remaining in the Regular Season while there are two more games and a possible six points remaining in the Champions League.
Every point is critical – and it will take an 18 member team to put the Timbers through to the Playoffs AND the Champions League.
Defense is, and must remain, the most critical area to execute to perfection – with the attacking firepower this team has, goals will happen – what we don’t need to see is goals happening for the opponent!
The plot thickens and it’s simply superb to be a Timbers supporter at this stage of the season!
Unlike some others I thought this game was THE most important game this week – including the one coming up against Vancouver – or the earlier game against Colorado.
Here’s why – the revenue, prestige, visibility, and overall tenor of the organization making it to the next round of the Champions League is what any organization needs to do to increase its influence – it’s results like these, that work to help bring in better players too.
Of course, like all of us not privy to detailed video analysis, it’s hard to gauge what level of personnel may be needed to ensure a win while also not throwing out chances of winning against Colorado or Vancouver.
In that the phrase – in Caleb we trust – should be noteworthy and fully supported.
And like most everyone in this City, I trust Caleb and his judgment/understanding of the game and what’s needed to win.
The hesitation I have, and even as a Head Coach myself, is the ability of the players to perform on the day.
I don’t offer that lightly for this year – there have simply been too many mistakes, at the wrong time, where the Timbers have come out on the bad end of the stick.
And with that comes frustration; so be it.
Now for a few closing thoughts on the internals of the game…
I really can’t see Kalif Alhassan being long for this organization – he might add some value (given his current salary) but it took him at least 3 to 4 times to finally figure out that he wasn’t going to dribble-drive past that opposing fullback last night. And even after he (might?) have figured that out he still tried to do it in his own defending half.
You may have missed it but somewhere around the 30 minute mark he was switched from the right side to the left side. A significant move in my opinion and here’s why.
Darlington Nagbe – an intriguing game for Darlington last night. Here’s my take… He did a great job of just being there – in the game last night he really didn’t need to inject his direct influence – Rodney Wallace, Will Johnson, Gaston Fernandez, Jack Jewsbury, Michael Harrington, and Maxi Urruti were already doing that.
In my view it was a very good, non-game, for Darlington who came on and spelled Michael Nanchoff who also, in my opinion, played a very good game.
Reference the discussion mentioned above with Caleb Porter about Michael and playing inverted winger – that’s not an easy role to take on – but it’s an important role because it gives the Timbers greater flexibility moving forward. Well done Michael – on both sides of the ball.
Next up Vancouver…
The destiny of the Portland Timbers rests with themselves; the defense isn’t the best but the game still must be played.
One can hope for a clean sheet but, for me, I simply hope the Timbers score more goals than the Whitecaps…
I’d expect a high paced game with action on both sides of the pitch… it’s a home game for Portland and if ever a time was needed to behave and execute a game with precision and purpose (with the voice of the Timbers Army throughout the full 90+ minutes) it’s Saturday afternoon…
May the sun be forever in the eyes of Vancouver… blind them with brilliance!
You wouldn’t know the frustration that Caleb Porter felt because he didn’t voice any negativity in the post-match with the TV guys…
And that lack of usual zest and kicking the sand up is what’s got me intrigued on how the rest of the MLS Regular Season will take shape this year.
Will we see the same back four get run out the rest of the season hoping that they gel better and develop a winning chemistry?
I think so… the swinging door policy on who plays in the back is probably going to stop – at least for regular season games; barring injury.
So that brings me to this Tuesday evening at Providence Park – is this the time we see Norberto Paparatto again? Or Danny O’Rourke? What about Jack Jewsbury?
Jack’s playing time in the back-four has taken a significant hit these last few weeks…
And what about Michael Harrington?
Chances are Michael plays on Tuesday – if anything to save the legs of Jorge Villafana for the weekend match against Vancouver.
And you’ll notice I’ve said nothing about the attacking side of the pitch… there simply isn’t any need to do that!
In most everyone’s mind Diego Valeri has got to be one of the top players in all of MLS this year.
He simply wins games and helps his team win games… only guys like Keane or Henry or Donovan have usually been associated with tags like that – yet Diego probably makes a fraction of what those guys make.
Simply stated – what a superb player!!!
So a reasonable path forward???
Lost of philosophies out there.
But the toughest nut to crack is understanding that in this league, at this time, with the salary cap and all the other strings attached to the puppets, top quality players, in all 11 positions, simply isn’t going to happen.
And until the foreign player limitation rules are eliminated, and the salary cap is more a control mechanism to manage ‘fair play’ than an investment limiter, many of us will usually have some sort of frustration when we see outcomes that could/should be better but aren’t.
In the near future I’d expect the Champions League effort to be huge. if not almost primary.
Perhaps Caleb and his staff are playing (mums the word) on knowing the quality of Olimpia?
Hard to say, but if there ever was a time for another 3 or 4 goal outburst while also getting a clean sheet it’s this next Tuesday.
Even more so if the final run to the Playoff race doesn’t pan out.
Too many mistakes this year – be them real or imaginary.
An average of 3.69 fouls per game in the defending final third doesn’t help – it’s a “continuously clear” indicator that the midfielders and defenders are routinely out of position…
And again, after listening to Caleb in the post-match, I think he’s to the point where he’s done wasting his breath on the Captain Obvious.
And it’s not like it’s wait to next year – it isn’t… there remains a chance – a very good chance.
MLS destiny awaits next weekend – for now it’s all about the CCL…
Granted, they didn’t lose position in the League Table, but they didn’t gain breathing room either.
So what about yesterday?
With just 25 minutes in, the Timbers had at least 8 shots and the pressure applied in the San Jose final third was simply huge. Sadly, all that effort translated to just more statistics without purpose.
That said – the Timbers hit a record of sorts that not many will be aware of… in all of their possession Sunday they are the first team in Major League Soccer to break the 40% barrier when it comes to penetration resulting from possession.
All told, their penetration per possession on Sunday was 44.72%. In other words 44.72% of the time that Portland had the ball they penetrated the San Jose defending Final Third. the MLS league average hovers around 22-24%… and rarely, if ever, exceeds 35%.
Huge, simply huge, so when Caleb Porter indicates the Timbers could have scored 10 goals he’s exactly right.
Alas; there is a flip side to that and it comes down to words like, impatient, frenetic, too fast – too furious. Somehow I think a slightly slower frequency of penetration might have got them more time (and) more space… —> collectively; I think, too often on Sunday, that got one but not both.
In other words, for me, it’s all about balance… and considering they conceded 3 goals it, for the most part, really only mattered in that it got them 1 point. Good – but not Great!
The game itself…
This game was never about playing a team who behaved like Vancouver – San Jose plays in the air and they play direct; part of this includes looking to take advantage of second chance balls, deflections, and rebounds…
i could offer thoughts on what player selection might have worked better but it would be misplaced; I don’t view these guys daily and so I’ll just put it down to the players didn’t perform to expectation and leave it at that.
That said, there is a regular expectation that certain players, like the Captain, Will Johnson, will perform a clear cut leadership role that controls emotion and minimizes disruptive behavior.
So I’m not sure this article will be the impetus for a wake up call, but through the course of this season, and this game in particular, his willy-nilly runs and poor passing, at crucial times, along with emotional out-bursts, are better suited to untrained 12 year-old soccer players, than a professional who’s supposed to behave and lead in a controlled manner.
If you think my criticism is misplaced because I’ve not played the game professionally – bollocks – this view is no different from any trained professional in any walk of life – and as a military veteran, the price paid for lack of concentration and poor leadership has far greater risks than those garnered in playing a game of soccer.
Benjamin Persitz, Garret nelson and Dale Coleman favorited your Tweet:
#PORvSJ #RCTID poor behavior from Will Johnson – sorry – he’s the Captain and he needs to show leadership here not emotion
There are still two more games (six points available) against San Jose, so getting the player selection and defensive combination/rotation right still merits value.
Paparatto is an aerial player; perhaps he adds a different level of value in a game where an opponent is more likely to play aerial balls than ground-based attacking… i.e defending against Vancouver is not the same as defending against San Jose.
In considering the overall league and level of play in defending…
MLS, with it’s salary cap and limitations on foreign players and designtated players, means greater import goes to scouting and finding players who can raise the level of team passing accuracy while also having the legs and will to defend (get behind the ball). (AND) At the same time they don’t cost a fortune – get them young and mold them to what is needed, provided they have the nous and passing accuracy/first touch skills so often used in this league.
In case you didn’t know, the Timbers do not have a formal – paid scout – nor do they have a large investment in high level statistical analysis… if you can’t invest in the base of the organizational pyramid, to build a lasting foundation, I’m not sure how a team can really go into a season with an expectation that winning on a regular basis is going to happen… especially in a league where the quality of player versus the cost of the player is so fine-edged…
The Timbers have done a great job in bringing in Diego Valeri. He’s clearly (for me) one of the most influential players in this league – when he clicks the Timbers do great in attack.
Seven games remain – that target is still out there – and can be reached; defense first is what will get the Timbers to the Playoffs and through future rounds…
San Jose like to play more direct than Vancouver – all told their average percentage of successful passes in the opponents defending final third is 6% points lower than Vancouver.
What’s that translate to?
It usually means they are quicker to make an attempt at penetrating – increased quantity, in the MLS, usually means decreased quality.
So the attack for San Jose will be different – which then means the defending approach for Portland needs to be slightly different.
Not different in terms of players but different in what areas will need to be closed down quicker in order to prevent successful penetration and shot generation.
As such the right midfielder/forward and right central midfielder will need to be better engaged/quicker in getting near the ball for second chance rebounds and deflections when the game flow works left to right.
And just the opposite for when the game flow works right to left.
From an attacking standpoint – San Jose is no slouch in defending – everybody has trouble defending LA Galaxy but in looking at most games this year San Jose are one of the better teams in defending.
Here’s a recent analysis on San Jose through Week 22 – as you can see they are pretty far up the Index in team defending.
As for now here’s how they stack up in the overall Defending PWP Index compared to Portland:
All said and done DEFENSE must remain the priority for the Timbers – working from the back – forwards last week saw Vancouver cede time and space due to impatience in trying to “over-create”.
Portland can’t afford to fall into the trap that Vancouver did – we all know Chris Wondolowski is wicked good on second chance balls and counter-attacking – with longer balls is likely.
Here’s hoping Portland can continue to get three points and march on-wards to the playoffs.
In a stunning rebound from one of their worst performances all year the Timbers did a great job of smothering the vaunted Vancouver attack while taking advantage of open space with the untimely injury to Pedro Morales.
In case you missed it that first goal by Portland came with Pedro on the sidelines.
And in an attacking role, unlike what any other Timbers fullback has done this year, Alvas Powell found himself penetrating, deep, into the 18 yard box to offer a deft flick-on from the ever dangerous Diego Valeri.
And obviously, with Vancouver pushing forward, the devastating counter-attack of Porltand saw two more goals.
One coming from a sublime dribble penetration by Darlington Nagbe who fed Rodney Wallace a superb through-ball only to see him slice it home with a clinical (no-look) far post, strike.
A bit later, with Fenando Adi being replaced by Maxi Urruti and Michael Harrington replacing a tired and sore Alvas Powell, the two substitutes (with fresh legs) combined for another wicked cut-back cross (by Harrington) ending with another clinical, top of the roof-netting, goal for Urruti.
In all of the 26 games played this year I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more determined Timbers defense – it won’t do to look back and ask why we haven’t got there before. It’s spilt milk really – but in the scheme of things the Timbers have eight games remaining and if they play like this every single game I can easily see them taking 18-20 more points…
Given the current form of Vancouver, Colorado, and San Jose I’m not seeing any of those three teams keeping up. And no – I don’t think that is viewing this team through rose tinted glasses.
You may scoff at this offering but here’s the thing – Defense wins.
Not only do you come away with a clean sheet (if you can) but that constant defensive pressure will, eventually, lead to opponent impatience – and when the opponent becomes impatient space opens… open space is critical in this game.
And in the case of last night all three crucial passes, leading to the goals scored, came from open space!
In closing – here were some of my final thoughts about last night in reviewing twitter…
#VANvPOR #RCTID this game reminds me of how the @timbersfc played last year… solid in the bak and devastating in the attak — Chris Gluck (@ChrisGluckPWP) August 31, 2014
And the shining start last night was Alvas Powell – oh what a game he had.
#VANvPOR #RCTID others may disagree but I say Alvas Powell is #MOTM – wicked good game 4 the young lad under extreme pressure… — Chris Gluck (@ChrisGluckPWP) August 31,
2014 @ChrisGluckPWP plus….there’s this: pic.twitter.com/gf5WJZ6B58 provided by Little imp (@stretchiegirl) August 31, 2014 about one minute later…
No statistics – don’t need them…
#VANvPOR #RCTID ref blows… full time… stunning – CLEAN SHEET most important + 3 points to go with + 3 goals — Chris Gluck (@ChrisGluckPWP) August 31, 2014
Bottom line - Defense first is a must – always has been and always should be!
Now I don’t propose to have ‘the solution’; but here’s a lineup I’ve been pinging about in my grey matter the last few days… recognizing that DEFENSE comes first!
Starting Right Fullback – Diego Chara – adds significant speed to the wings while adding significant skills in tackling and defending – can shut down, literally, any winger in this league.
Starting Right Center-back – Norberto Paparatto – while not the most gifted when it comes to speed his aerial abilities are not surpassed by many – and while he’s not completely used to the physical nature of the game he can hold his own provided he has support both atop, to his left and to his right.
Starting Left Center-back – Liam Ridgewell – most know by now what he brings to the pitch – no need to embellish.
Starting Left Fullback – Will Johnson – adds significant speed to the wings while adding significant skills in tackling and defending – can shut down, literally, any winger in this league.
Bucket 4 Midfield with two striker tandem that can also convert to a Diamond 4 midfield midstream…
Starting Right and Left Midfielder – doesn’t matter – Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe – the two best players on the team and their presence is needed not only for leadership but individual skills they bring in their ability to ‘change the game’…
Starting inside Midfielders – Rodney Wallace and Michael Nanchoff - yeh; I get it – some may poo-poo Michael Nanchoff but he brings grit and a left-foot to the team to maximize rotational play within either a Diamond or Bucket — and he’s better defensively than Zakuani in most cases. I think we all know and agree what Rodney Wallace brings to the pitch; the kicker is his replacement when away on national team duties – is it Ben Zemanski or Steve Zakuani?
Starting strikers – tandem – Adi and Fernandez as a first option – clearly the physical presence of a big striker is needed and he has good feet and very good vision – one only has to look at other successful teams in this league to see that there is value in having a solid/physical striker – especially when running a two striker formation.
Bench – (1) Zemanski or (1) Zakuani, (2) Jewsbury (late defensive midfield replacement), (3) Villafana – late left sided winger or defensive replacement, (4) Kah – late center-back replacement, (5) Powell – late right sided winger or defensive replacement (at a push), (6) Urruti – late striker/winger replacement (7) Gleeson or Weber…
Now I don’t profess to offer that this is the only mix that adds value from a defensive standpoint and it’s certainly not my call.
But here’s the thing – something needs to change as it is clear the back four – combined with the midfield support in getting behind the ball, when losing the ball, is not quick enough to shut down highly skilled opponents.
Winning games and making the playoffs is a good thing – winning Championships is another level completely.
All said and done it is reasonable that the Timbers can make the playoffs without significant changes in the back-four this year, but it’s also reasonable that the Timbers won’t make the playoffs without making significant changes in the back four this year.
All the players on this team have quality, if they didn’t they wouldn’t be on this team – the blend of that quality plus the blend of a good chemistry is always a challenge. This offering is not intended to second guess though it probably appears that way – it’s more to represent that, from a different view, there are other ways to operate.
From a tactical standpoint – the fullback position – in my view – is one of the most under-rated/under-valued positions in Major League Soccer. All you need to do to quantify that is look at the MLS Best XI each year.
It’s a 3-4-3; a formation and lineup that absolutely no team in MLS plays – why do they do that – in my view to glorify the goal scorers and the players who offer assists.
Goal scoring is secondary in this game – goal prevention is primary.
I’ll start with where I left off on my pre-match report to begin my post match analysis…
“Sometimes what doesn’t happen on the pitch is more valuable than what does happen…
What didn’t happen is the Timbers didn’t play defense, didn’t close spaces, didn’t close gaps, and didn’t drop back behind the ball when not in possession (i.e. ball watched).
So for this game all those ‘didn’t do things’ are what got Portland in trouble.
Some may believe that the outcome of this game comes as a surprise; although I’d offer, from responses to my tweets throughout the game, the results and the (didn’t happen events) came as no surprise at all.
This is not a one-off for the Timbers (more later), nor… is it against the norm for other teams in Major League Soccer this year.
In all of MLS, this year, teams (when they win) have done so with less than 50% of the possession 47.5% of the time…
Yes, nearly 50% of the time a team will win with less than 50% of the possession. And that number creeps up to 48.64% when looking at wins and draws.
Of all the games where a team walks away with three points, the team taking three points has had less than 50% possession 76 out of 160 times.
One team has won with 50% possession and only 83 times has the winning team walked away with an advantage in possession (51.88% of the time).
To be clear – possession is not an indicator that has value when it comes to reinforcing that a team will win (or is more likely to win) – direct play and counter-attacking/quick transition play has almost just as much value as general ‘possession’…
And, at this stage in the season, three of the ten teams currently in a playoff position average less than 50% possession. Have we forgotten how effective Holland and Costa Rica were in the World Cup already?
A better, general statistic, is passing accuracy across the entire pitch – eight of the current MLS playoff position teams average ~77% or more in passing accuracy; only FC Dallas ~75% and Toronto ~74% average less.
Bottom line here… attaining a passing accuracy of greater than 77% (in MLS) is more likely to better indicate which team has a better chance of winning – given that – it’s reasonable that TV pundits offering up analysis should shelve the possession soundbite and instead replace it (in MLS) with the 77% target soundbite.
That number is likely to change for other leagues; I’m now looking into how those numbers play out for the English Premier League and the Bundesliga.
So what really happened in this game?
What really happened is quality again supplanted quantity…
And as much as the greater volume of shots usually means the greater the likelihood a team scores just doesn’t get past the fact that, time and space, over volume, remains the most critical (unmeasured) statistic in soccer…
I think a new statistic in soccer should be “number of open shots” – regardless of where; and the build-up statistic to that should be quantifying both the origin and ending location of the pass that created that open shot.
Open shot could be defined as a player having one or two square yards of total space (around the player) that is available to strike the ball, unhindered and an unimpeded by a player who can block the shot before it reaches the keeper.
Any other shot would be considered ‘hindered’… others may have a different view???
If one liked, they could easily develop (Expected Goals) XpG based upon ‘open shots’ versus the general approach used today… I’d offer that XpG would probably be far more accurate than it is now – again – others may have a different view???
Bottom line for yesterday was this… a better team defense won – So for me this isn’t about calling out Will Johnson or Michael Harrington or any other ‘one player’ who appeared to play poorly in defense yesterday – it’s all about calling out the entire team that their defensive posture and positioning and mentality to go with it was terrible…
The (more later)…
In all the games the Timbers have played this year (25 of them) the opponent has had less than 50.1% of the possession 14 times – with the sum of goals scored against in those 14 games equaling 21 goals; almost 50% of the goals scored against Portland (21/43).
As for taking points? The Timbers have taken 20 of their 31 points in games where their opponent possesses the ball less than 50% of the time (66% of their points).
This appears somewhat pear-shaped to me.
While the Timbers have a 66% chance of gaining points in a game, when they possess the ball more, that increase in possession only generates a 50% payback in scoring more goals than the opponent.
In other words, team defense is not winning the Portland Timbers their games; it’s the team attack.
So since Portland are playing Vancouver this weekend what do their team statistics offer up?
Vancouver opponents have had less than 50% of the possession 13 times and they’ve given up 12 of their 31 goals against in those games (~39%). They’ve won two of those games, lost two, and drawn nine of them for 15 points from 13 games (45% of their points).
In other words, with a 45% chance of taking points it is likely the opponent will score fewer goals 61% of the time (100% – 39%).
Now how about this coming weekend?
Portland like to possess the ball – which means they are likely to try and possess it more than 50% against Vancouver.
So when looking at Vancouver, and when their opponents possess the ball greater than 50.1%, here’s the grist.
Opponents have done that 11 times against Vancouver, with 17 goals scored but… Vancouver have taken 18 of their 33 points from those games (55% chance of Vancouver taking points).
In other words, even when the opponent possesses the ball more against Vancouver, Vancouver have a better chance of taking points even though the opponent has scored 54% of the goals against Vancouver.
Put another way, not pear-shaped…
Reality… if not for the attack of the Portland Timbers (led by Diego Valeri) it is likely this team would be bottom of the Western Conference; given that only Houston and Montreal (the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference) have ceded more goals against this year than the Timbers.
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