Match Analysis – Portland Timbers (2) FC Dallas (1)

Quite a few things to consider from this game, best of all the end-result with Timbers taking 3 points and Dallas taking none.

Before digging into some analysis here’s some random thoughts I had as takeaways for this game.

As much as I hate to say it the central midfield did not miss a beat with Will Johnson sidelined – the Zemanski pairing with Diego Chara was superb this match – this isn’t advocating Ben supplants Will – for me it’s reinforcing the depth Portland have in the central midfield area!

As noted in a tweet or two,by myself and others after last nights game – the insertion of Alvas Powell into this side has opened up a whole new level of penetration and threat down the right hand side.

I’m not offering he’s a polished product yet – far from it – he could have played much tighter in the back four when play rotated to Harrington’s side and with his speed he should be able to manage that.

As for the attack – I offered up last night that it’s like adding a 5th midfielder to the team while not losing the back-four.  Some might argue we already have 5 midfielders – okay – if so then it’s like adding a sixth midfielder.

Consider this… He’s just 19 – Yedlin is good for that city up north and Porter only had him for one year at Akron; hard to imagine Powell not being better than Yedlin given he will be under the guidance of Porter for as many as 3-4 years… wow!

In case you missed it Kah and Baptiste swapped sides around the 38 minute mark last night – that move most likely came about given the presence of both Castillo and Jackson down Harrington’s side.

Placing Baptiste on that side balances the speed more evenly across the back- four.  We’ve seen that rotation before and it speaks volumes to the confidence Porter has in his back four that he can swap his center-backs mid-game.

Some might offer Michael Harrington had a bit of a rough go last night – I suppose you could say he did; but not for lack of defending skills; it more or less had to do with handling both Castillo ‘and’ Jackson at times in the first half; part of the reason Porter realigned his back four to better manage the game.

Note the change in play for Castillo and Jackson in the first half compared to the second half; striking how different those two halves were for perhaps the most talented speedsters on Dallas…

The other attackers for Dallas — again – note the marked difference between the first half and the second half .  

In the first half Ferreira, Diaz and Perez had 61 combined passing attempts (48 completed) with 1 goal, 2 shots on goal and 2 more shots taken that were off target.

On the other hand, that same trio of players had 35 combined pass attempts (22 completed) with one shot off-target in the second half.

Pretty fair to say Portland pretty much shut down FC Dallas in the second half; thankfully a poorly managed game by the Referee didn’t impact the score-line with a dubious set-piece goal by Dallas…

It seemed pretty clear Caleb was unhappy with the game calling conditions as it certainly appeared (on the jumbo-tv-screen) that he voiced his displeasure about ‘game management’ to the fourth referee on the sidelines.

Diego Valeri – It was clear to everyone in JELD-WEN last night that Diego was gutted, simply gutted when he pushed that sitter wide at the 20 minute mark… to kind of try and relate how gutted he was here’s his OPTA chalkboard data up to that point )20′ 08″; 14 passing attempts with 10 successful and that one shot off-target with 1 key pass and 2 unsuccessful crosses.

Whereas afterwards; he had 12 passing attempts with 9 being successful while two of the three unsuccessful one were corner kick crosses – the other corner resulted in goal one with Ryan Johnson.  He also played a successful “through ball”.

I’ve talked about those before and how important they are for Portland to get and this “through-ball” is the one that put Nagbe on goal for his tally.  Portland get points in the league table when they play successful through-balls…

With those thoughts offered here’s the latest on Portland and how they compared ‘visually’ to FC Dallas this game in final third activity…



Note that for visual presentation only I have removed ‘shots blocked’ from this diagram to show the overall relationship (R2) between these six data points.  As always, the closer to “1” the better.  And instead of submitting a linear relationship between the data points I have regressed the information from a ‘polynomial’ relationship.

In layman’s terms that basically means that there is a ‘curved relationship’ between the points as opposed to a straight-line relationship.  Both are reasonable and the closer to “1” as time passes the more reliable output data from previous games can be used to ‘predict’ output data from future games.

While I’m not a rocket scientist I did offer before this game that a likely result was 2-1 in favor of Portland – I made that prediction based upon the previous games outputs and the ‘guess’ that Portland would hit certain passing targets at home while Dallas would not exceed certain passing targets on the road.

In closing – I have tracked locations of penetrations and numbers of ‘created goal scoring opportunities all season long for Portland and I will continue to do that.  

For now, however, I will no longer provide graphic diagrams getting into that detail – since starting I have seen what Golazo now offers…

And I have also been informed about another great data source for MLS games at this web site…

As you can see, for many of my statistical data points there really is no further need to collect them; I’d like to offer my thanks to Ben Pugsley , Colin Trainer, Ted Knutson and others at for bringing the website to my attention.

Note also that the also provides some information on what styles of play each team worked towards as well as what strengths each team had…

When the Sporting KC game against San Jose is completed I will update my new Possession with Purpose Power Rankings; in case you missed it here’s my power rankings for all MLS teams prior to this weekend; there are differences and similarities between my output analysis and that of MLS.

I don’t offer one is right versus wrong; just that one presents one view versus another view – I like mine because it’s more focused on activities in the final third and less related to ’emotion’…

Oh… and as duly noted in my tweets last night and other offerings elsewhere – Slump?  ===>  Bollocks!  

If anyone is in a slump it’s FC Dallas.  

They’ve gone 7 games (including Stoke City) with 5 Losses and 2 Draws while yielding 14 goals and pulling one way outa their arse (thanks to the assistant referee) in that draw with LA Galaxy last weekend.

Next up PWP-PR and then my Match Preview between Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake (Game 2 – but really Game 1)…

You can follow me on twitter at




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.

Scroll to top