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What to Watch For (Timbers vs RSL) Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? We may be surprised?

Well… will we see Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde this weekend; history might lead the analyst towards the more evil of the two and I think so too… with one exception I think it is the evil side of this team that goes in and takes three points not the namby-pamby ‘good side’… we need to be Mr. Hyde in away games!

Why: Well in considering what all we saw against SJ our last game I would offer that the Timbers played beautitful (evil ball) – aggressive, close-down, high pressure, ball moving, wicked football where we got into their heads as well as into their face. That is exactly what we need to do here…

So My WTWF this weekend covers a few things; some old some new — hopefully playing ‘evil’ in all of them lead to making RSL black and blue…

one-v-one: We absolutely must continue to be on the winning side of tackling and gaining possesssion of the ball in all locations on the pitch; but where this is the most critical from an attacking viewpoint is our ability to win one-v-one’s in the attacking third/half of the pitch. But before I spend any more time focusing on the attacking half there remains the single most crucial requirement…. DEFENSE FIRST, DEFENSE SECOND and then Attack third. Let’s not forget this is an away game where 1 point from a game like this is almost as good as 3 points and MOST definitately better than nil-pwah 😉 I hear their confidence level is pretty low in RSL – well make it bloody lower! Tug shorts, pull shirts, be physical – be hard – be the evil Mr. Hyde Side!!!!

Central Midfield: Chara returns and we will be adding someone else new to the midfield this weekend as well compared to the SJ game… it appears Songo’o is out for a few weeks with a knee sprain. Who and how will we handle this will be critical to the wing play. Although we have picked up a new rightback I imagine we will not see Capt. Jack start in the middle… I think KAH returns as a one-for-one swap with the injured Songo’o; hopefully KAH can fill this ever-increasing role of Songo’o. Perhaps we see Kimura to start; perhaps not – either way his addition to the team needs to be considered in how we line up and our fullback overlapping play. “IF” Kimura starts I will add a slight wrinkle to my WTWF as I focus specifically on what I see this guy bringing to our team. For one, to impress me he better BLOODY think and better BLOODY play defense first! Enuf Said! None of this Namby – Pamby bullocks of being out of position in an away game. For now the ‘center of the ptich’ is Nagbe and Chara – I don’t care if they play box-to-box or front-back – as long as they play evil it’s good by me!!!!

Striking partnership + 1 – I have this one ticked for today because this is probably game 2 of multiple games in a row where we see Mwanga partnering with Boyd… their continued work rate in the attacking third must be high – and their working off of Nagbe is important to sustain up-front pressure. with two tall forwards that have a wee-bit-of weight we better see wicked headers and timely poaching. I also want to include Nagbe here because I it’s what I wanna do… he is in the much-lauded diamond CAM position and he really needs to instill his physcial presence to tackle AND gain possession of the ball and work together with the strikers on direct through balls. So in thinking about past performances I am hopeful that the performance from Nagbe this weekend is visually stunning and devilishly clever against their defense.

Our Back-four – DEFENSE – DEFENSE – DEFENSE – Mosco returns and my first thoughts are that Horst will pair with him in the back; why??? because Horst has been an absolute beast of a player lately – in 360 minutes of play these last four games I count ONE, not two or three or four, but ONE occassion where he lost concentration and got beat… that good friends is what I call “wicked play”! Remaining tight in the back four with reverse overlapping by our wingers is crucial to keeping a clean sheet – this coupled with our already wicked Chara and his Cheshire Cat Grin tackles is the Mr. Hyde side we want to see…

My thought is this is our first away win this year… keep an eye on set-pieces – set-pieces win games!

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 PossessionwithPurpose.com, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.