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What to Watch For (Timbers vs D. C. United) Saturday Jeld-Wen

What to Watch For:

To set the stage: DC United are coming into JELD-WEN knowing that it’s going to be tough to play here. This is what Perry Kitchen had to say about last year’s match:

“As a player, even though we’re the visiting team, it’s fun to play in that environment,”…

“It’s going to be tough to communicate. I remember last year, a guy is ten yards away from you – you can yell, but he’s not going to hear you. It’s going to be tough to play, but we’re going to try to take the crowd out of it by either not allowing a goal or scoring a goal.”

Here’s hoping the Timbers Army sing songs all night long…

Now on to my WTWF’s in this game…

Like the previous games the substitutions and rotation of players has been of interest – in keeping with my previous WTWF’s “substitutions” will continue as my WTWF #1. How that plays out will depend on the scoreline at half…

As for what’s next on my list; Chris Pontius is dangerous and leads DC United in goals; you don’t get there unless you can finish and have a at least one midfield partner who has vision and touch (Dwayne De Rosario). But De Rosario is out with an MCL injury so who steps into that gap?
A reasonable bet is that Nick DeLeon (Mid 1816 minutes player) may be the main culprit. Why; besides having a good number of assists (4) and goals (5) he also plays down the right wing. What does that mean; not real sure this game but a continuing trend appears to be that our opponents attack our right more than our left. Will DC United continue that trend? I don’t know but I will be watching for it.

If things don’t go well for DC early on (maybe?) another potential player to look to for assistance might be Branko Boskovic. I’m not exactly sure how he fits as I have not seen him play much but it’s of interest to me when I see that a player has less than half the minutes of starters but has just as many assists. Perhaps Boskovic is like Kalif Alhassan? I don’t know but I will look for it…

So WTWF #2 will be where the penetration comes from by DC United and how that translates to our defense.

So how does that stack up when viewing things from the PTFC attacking side of the pitch? One of the emerging strengths of PTFC has been the central midfield and developing variation on penetrating the opposing defense and 18 yard box.
Both Sal Zizzo and Franck Songo’o each provide unique strengths to the attack. Sal being the guy to pull the defense wide with his crosses and fast paced direct dribbling/running skills while Franck tends to be more physical in his penetration atop and along the 18; with increased play down low depending on overlap timing with Steve Smith.

This continuing diversity makes someone like Darlington Nagbe even more dangerous and as indicated by the DC United team site their concerns rest with keeping a main focus on Nagbe. To be honest I hope they do spend extra energy monitoring Nagbe; that makes them more vulnerable in other areas.
So in closing my WTWF #3 is how Franck Songo’o and Sal Zizzo “set the conditions” for success in our attacking half.

No other initial thoughts to offer at this time; three WTWF’s (1) Substitutions, (2) DC United penetration down the wings with DeLeon looking to link with Pontius (given DeRosarios’s absence) and (3) Franck Songo’o and Sal Zizzo working to set the conditions for success in our attacking half.

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.