Timbers set to face FC Dallas – Questions, questions, questions…

I’m not one to offer up feelings to often as you know – I’m much more comfortable surrounding myself with some sort of analytical information to avoid the personal part of interviewing and the sometimes mundane questions and answers that can come from it when you really already know those answers and that the tough questions sometimes go unasked or unanswered.

So hypothetically – but not really hypothetically – I will offer up some questions that all are welcome to answer (in any shape or form) in the comments…

Questions… Questions… Questions…

1. In seeing that the back-four has given away three Penalities (and knowing that FC Dallas have been spot on this year in Set-piece goals {4 of them from direct free kicks and one PK awarded already}) what approach will the Center-backs take in shape/position with respect to guys like Castillo and Diaz?

2. While some may disagree it would appear Jack Jewsbury (a super guy and very good athlete who is a great person) has lost a step or two – can you offer up what sort of attacking presence he is likely to offer – either in deep penetration or playing higher up while influencing play more with crosses and switches?

3. Some have offered that Diego Valeri seems to work with more influence by being more central to the pitch – while also offering up a bit more space for Darlington Nagbe down the wing. Given the huge success of Portland stuffing FC Dallas down the middle last year (with Hedges still playing as the Center-back this year) what might we expect to see from those two guys as they look to support Gaston Fernandez (or Max Urruti or Freddie Piquionne) up top?

4. Steve Zakuani got some good minutes in against Colorado and seemed to be most effective in offering up deep penetration or turning inside similar to an inverted winger – can you offer up what pattern of penetration we might see this game and how that must balance with his activities on the defensive side of the pitch?

5. It appears that Diego Chara has been in a bit more of a forward position than Will Johnson this year – with that – sometimes it seems like the trailing ‘edge’ that gets Will Johnson some goals hasn’t materialized. Have you considered re-working with the single pivot in having Will Johnson play central in front of the back-four while then adding another attacking midfielder (in lieu of Diego Chara) to the mix? Perhaps having Nanchoff or running Urruti or Piquionne with Zakuani and Fernandez adds value where the goals against might still remain about 1 per game?

6. Is there a time when Alvas Powell becomes the primary right full back as opposed to Jack Jewsbury? And might that time come sooner rather than later? If not, what areas would Alvas need to improve on in order to make that move to the starting 11?

7. For some it was really no secret that Donovan Ricketts played a superb role in stopping goals scored by the opponent last year – Weber has been opined as a journeyman goal keeper that adds value but at what cost to the organization? Is there a point where the Salary cap needs to recognize that having a top flight back-up is almost as critical as having a 3rd Center-back?

8. And if not an accurate offering by some as being a journeyman keeper will there be any new communication issues to consider if Futty returns on the right side versus Paparatto or vice versa?

9. Adjustments are made as the game develops – in considering both Moffat and Thomas will be missing from the Dallas central midfield area is there an expectation that some middle of the park efforts might have more influence earlier in this game than in previous games with Dallas?

10. The style that Pareja watns his players to play to should be a familiar look for the Timbers this game – has Pareja ever offered up any tactics or strategies (to start or in mid-game) that have been a surprise and if so what types of approaches have been used to counter his tactics in the past?

11. A game is a game is a game and the bottom line is that flexibility in how to penetrate and create goal scoring opportunities is sometimes best leveraged by simply letting the players loose (within certain confines of the pitch) to work their magic; thoughts?

12. Many feel or think Diego Valeri best represents the player who can unlock the best skills from his teammates – if that is the case might we see Diego in a more central role this game? In other words – okay opponent – Valeri is my most dangerous guy (he could probably get the most touches) given his vision and creativity – I’m going to stick him in the middle of the park and it’s up to you to beat this team knowing that danger exists because we are going to press you and we are going to score goals on you – so stop me if you can.

In closing…

In watching the game this Saturday I’ll be looking to try and find some answers to these questions without doing any interviews but relying solely on what I see and what the post-match statistics have to offer.

I am hopeful the Timbers take 3 in Frisco.

All the best,

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.

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