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Sean McAuley to take interim helm the rest of the season?

What’s in store for PTFC the remainder of this year if Sean McAuley takes the interim helm for training, player selection and ‘advice’ from the pitch?

I’m not sure, but I hope we don’t see a retread of previous players getting a look in for the remainder of the season that we already pretty much have an idea are not ‘up-to-scratch’.

Going forward there is goodness and value in playing some younger players but that should include the younger players we already have that get some playing time not just new lads like Freddie Braun, Ryan Kawulok, Bright Dike, or AJB.

In considering the veterans; sooner rather than later we really need to see Jack Jewsbury take a back seat and realize that his future as a starter is not with this team. Jack has been a solid contributor to this team and his legacy should not be shrugged off with abandon. Leadership is a critical piece of any organization and part of being a GREAT leader is also being a great follower. Is it time for Jack to follow and show true leadership by stepping back to let others learn by failure now? IMHO I think so…

I would also offer that although many love what Kris Boyd brings to the pitch, as I do, there should also come a time where he too needs to take a back seat and yield to some younger players. We seem to have a queue of lads waiting to run out there as strikers and I really believe we further enhance that group by adding Darlington Nagbe to that mix. He truly looks to me like a very young and single minded striker who reminds me of an unpolished Thierry Henry or perhaps a young Dwight Yorke.

We have already seen that Brent Richards can contribute and his work ethic/rate “AND” his positional sense of others in and around him on the pitch is superb given the small amount of 1st team football he’s played. In such a short time it would appear to me that he may have what I call a really high footy IQ. You can never have enough players with a high footy IQ. So running Richards out there in the midfield makes this team better.

So… if we run Diego Chara in the attacking 1/2 of the pitch; which we SHOULD continue to do, then we either consider the need to go out and buy a midfield commander or we need to build one from within.

In all the players I have seen this year Eric Alexander best represents, to me, “the” someone we should try to build from within and who we should afford the opportunity to ‘fail’ in the central midfield role. He also, along with Franck Songo’o and Diego Chara appears to have a high footy IQ; others may disagree?

To add to our midfield I would offer that Alhassan adds a multiple dimension above and beyond any other player we have. His foot skills, deft touch, vision and clinical finishing on crosses is exceeded by no-one else on this team. His work rate/ethic is high and he not only gets behind the ball when needed he closes down and looks to tackle when the opportunity presents itself. For me his understanding of space and the need to create space to make space to use space is unparalleled.

So when do we see Alexander, Alhassan, Songo’o, Chara in our midfield; it is just about time where this needs to happen? SOON; very soon I hope!

As for the back four; since pretty much replacing Eric Brunner, David Horst has been an absolute beast; no center-back on this team, (IMHO) at this time, defends better than David Horst inside and above the 18 yard box. Like most other center-backs; when asked to defend way outside left of the box he will usually get beat by someone with the class of Donovan.

I wonder how a back-four centered with Horst and Brunner will work? I’m not sure if many others will agree or even know this comparison but the names Tony Adams and Martin Keown come to mind as being two players these guys remind me of; not in complete equality; but in grit and determination and overall consistency of purpose and understanding the off-side trap. And if you recall neither Adams nor Keown (or even Bould) were the fastest center-backs for Arsenal but they were consistent and they knew where to go and when to be there.

However we line up let’s continue to push higher and look to get more tackles and 1-v-1 wins in our attacking half like we did last Saturday.

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.