Sorry about being a bit late on this WTWF in today’s game; I have been working on a Long Term WTWF and that has taken up a bit of my time.
So for today the Timbers play a huge game in the huge city of New York. Donovan Ricketts has had a few additional days to get to know his back-four better so hopefully I don’t see the same apprehension I saw against Toronto today.
So my 1st WTWF will be the continued development of communication and coordination by Donovan Ricketts and the back four in how they remain tight, high, flat and most importantly how they man-mark better in the 18 yard box.
My 2nd WTWF will be how the ball is delivered from square one and back four to the target players, or, as short balls to better work short passes and ball possession across the entire midfield.
My 3rd WTWF will be what formation PTFC uses with the return of Franck Songo’o. Will we go with a 4-2-3-1 as the previous road game or will we return to the 4-3-3? To be honest I sense we will again run a 4-2-3-1 because we are away against a very high powered offense. But Gavin Wilkinson may try to battle against that high powered offense by pushing more players forward to force the fullbacks to remain back. To be sure, even doing that may not make a difference with the midfield play of Tim Cahill and the ability of Thierry Henry to drop back and rotate in and around the midfield.
My 4th WTWF will be focused on how effective we are in bringing Kris Boyd into the attack with balls to his feet in and around the 18 yard box. Much of this will have to do with Darlington Nagbe as I sense we won’t see Diego Chara playing more forward if we run the 4-2-3-1.
However things pan out, regardless of the formation, the Timbers will have to be firing on all cylinders to get a draw. Managing every second that Timbers don’t have the ball will be critical. Expect Red Bulls to be aggressive and dominant in trying to get PTFC out of this game as soon as possible. Getting one point here would be huge, absolutely huge.