Know the Enemy – What To Watch For (WTWF) Timbers vs Rapids

I’m hearing and reading that the weather in Denver is supposed to be absolutely brutal this weekend and the Rapids have had limited practices and even cancelled one due to heat. In reading additional stuff about their manager it appears their’s is in a hot seat. Lot’s of player names and stuff about them in writing but I haven’t seen them play so I won’t comment.

So… for me; going off some thoughts, comments and additional things I’ve seen over the course of the last few games here’s what I think are reasonable WTWF bits and pieces.

“Nagbe”: Lots of discussion about someone I feel and think is a quality midfielder – I hesitate to label him as a CAM – it is not a term I normally use to categorize midfielders (my fault – it’s being brought up a wee bit of a different way). I prefer to focus on his generation and control of space both in front of Chara, along side of our two wingers and behind or alongside our two strikers. For me the most critical piece is his ability to link and create forward space for improving the Timbers ability to drive in (or float in) crosses; on either side of the pitch. A short direct through ball is ALWAYS a good thing though 🙂

“Left Wing (Side)” – I thought Songo’o and Smtih matched up well this past weekend and not knowing KAH status I am leaning towards the left… in particular the build-up, quick attacking/penetration that leads to crosses (overlapping or not), throw-ins, corners and free kicks somewhere within 15 yards or so of the 18 yard box. I like in-swinging set-piece balls – and coming from the left gets us working off of Songo’o right foot – since with an overlap very often times the fullback plays the ball back to the midfielder who is in a position to play a right footed in-swinger into the box.

“Corners and Free Kicks” – I remain stubborn in this 🙂 set-pieces win games – I would prefer we win the battle of corners and free kicks as well as the war but a good WTWF is not necessarily our ability to score a goal directly off of a corner but our ability to score a goal as a result of a corner… I think their squad matches up pretty good in the height department so better use of a corner might be to use it to take advantage of empty space up atop the 18 yard box.

“One on One tackling” and our ability to win those little battles – keeping the ball under pressure and tackling ‘hard’ to take the ball and gain possession (I wanna see some Chara Cheshire Cat grins….) I will do my best to track one-on-one situations…

I have some thoughts on the starting squad but prefer to check on the health of KAH before putting pen to paper..

Chris Gluck

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. Since then my involvement in soccer analysis has expanded to include participating in the Regional Emmy Award Winning Soccer City PDX TV Show (Comcast Sports Northwest). My unique analytical approach has been published in Europe and presented at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. I also appear regularly as a co-host on Rose City Soccer Show and the Yellowcarded Podcast. You can find my work on, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.

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