Portland Timbers

Schillo shines as Long lobs left fullback for wicked assist as Timbers draw Sporting 1-1 in Tucson

Preseason is really all about warming up for the regular season and getting a look at the new/younger lads and how they hold themselves.

And while it is early days my man of the match was Aaron Long; others contributed and Schillo got the goal but in considering the entire 45 minutes Long stood out to me as the guy who took his role, played it and made the most of it.

In almost every instance when the Timbers had the ball he was moving into space (within his area) and making himself available; others around him, at times, seemed less patient and more inclined to play the long ball forward.

And while successful at times in playing long the primary method of penetration for Portland is not the long-ball.  That identity for this club is critical and the more often players play it long from the back-four the less likely they are to get substantial playing minutes unless the scoreline dictates a tactical change like that.  Perhaps Caleb wanted more long balls?

So while it’s good that Schillo was getting some space down the left side, with some longer balls, it isn’t necessarily good given the normal run of play with Portland has the ball moving, in a timba-taka fashion like it did in the first half.

For me that means Schillo needs to play a bit higher up the pitch to better leverage his midfielders to support a more consolidated penetration…

Lots of work remains, to include more practice on defending set-pieces.  It simply won’t do to give up goals on set-pieces.. defending a near post header needs to get better.

All told there were flashes of Timba-taka last night; especially in the first half and the drum-beat, provided, seemed to match the pace at times; at other times it was plain annoying.  

Norberto looks to have settled in as the right center-back and Gaston looks good in the middle; though I can see him offering up more danger down the left or right side as well.  I didn’t get a good look at Villafana last night but he seemed to link well with others and provide support to Kalif with an occasional run down the left side.

As for the others; Weber looked confident in goal and the regulars from last year continued their own work in getting match fit.  It is likely one or two of them go 60 minutes next game just to ensure the legs are ready for March.

After a day off it I imagine the new players will get their first exposure to how Caleb runs an after-the-match training session where he makes it a point to ‘correct’ mistakes made in the previous game.

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.