Portland Timbers Possession with Purpose Players of the Week 5

You case you missed it I have been publishing on a couple of other sites this year in addition to my regular articles on the Timbers.

Part of that effort includes doing a weekly analysis of the New York Red Bulls for the New York Sports Hub – here’s my Week 5 analysis on the Red Bulls as they drew 2-2 with Montreal.

In addition I now write two feature articles on Possession with Purpose every week on American Soccer Analysis; one covering the Weekly Index and one covering the Cumulative Index. It is interesting that over a third of the readership for those articles is in Europe or elsewhere outside the US.

Here’s a link to last weeks Weekly analysis and last weeks Cumulative analysis in case you missed it – when this weeks article’s get published I will provide a link to that, as well, right here (Week 5 PWP Analysis) and here.

So how have things gone in the Possession with Purpose department for Portland so far this year?

Here’s a quick diagram showing the PWP Attacking and Defending Indices for the first five games with the Average for 2013 provided as a stabilizing indicator.




The yellow line is intended to point out the slightly obvious – apart from the home game against Chicago, the Portland defense has yielded much higher (overall) percentages to the opponents this year in almost all phases of PWP; Possession percentage, Passing Accuracy, Penetration percentage based upon possession, creation of Shots taken versus passes within the Final third, Shots on Goal versus Shots taken and Goals scored versus Shots on Goal.

I’m not going down the road on PK’s anymore – that’s a dead horse and the impacts from PK’s are already accounted for in PWP, as a whole.

By the way – when you ride a dead horse the most appropriate thing to do is – dismount – and find a new horse – not hope it comes back to life or continue to ride it while it’s dead.

That being said Caleb has indicated they look at match video and also consider past trends… rightly so – part of that long term trend analysis may have had much to do with sitting Gaston and playing Kalif.

Kalif got called on just like Powell did – both performed well as the Timbers scored four goals – its’ the balance of strengths and weaknesses, along withe the team chemistry, that Caleb searches for and from an attacking viewpoint it looked like yesterday’s team was a good balance in attack.

Now the challenge is defending…

Moving on… as with my regular blog on the New York Red Bulls I will also begin to offer up weekly Attacking and Defending Players of the week for the Timbers.

This is not intended to be a contest to see who’s the best or worst; it’s more of my way to emphasize that within the context of a game there are more things than just scoring goals or taking shots.

With that, here’s my Timber’s PWP Attacking Player of the Week:




I think most would agree the two goals scored by Diego Chara were a welcomed surprise – and indicative of the midfield beginning to work better in supporting the attack like last year.

Last year Will Johnson scored a number of goals – I’m not sure it’s Diego’s turn to score that many goals (9) but it will certainly be an advantage if he can garner a bit more attention to help others get additional space.

And yes, both Diego Valeri and Maxi Urruti each got a goal – but when our central midfielders, who are so critical to the defense can add to the attack this team will be dangerous.

Of note are his 7 recoveries Рcapturing loose balls and successfully moving them to another teammate Рand his 3 interceptions while sustaining a passing accuracy of 89%.  Pretty comprehensive game for Diego Chara.

With that said there is more to this game than attack – and for me the primary part of this game is defending. Here’s my PWP Defender of the Week for Portland…



If you recall in my prematch I offered up that if Player x gets selected over Player y then there may be a change in Player z. We saw that this Saturday when Pa Madou Kah was given the head nod to start as the Right Center-back while Norberto Paparatto was moved to partner with Michael Harrington.

This should not be a surprise move for many – and if Alvas continues to start it is likely the back four will stay paired that way. If Caleb does change things – bringing on Futty Danso perhaps, then we might see a different rotation.

Anyway viewed it was a welcome sight to see Alvas on the pitch – and contrary to some views, I’ve seen, Powell did his job and he did it well… as he gets more minutes we should see his awareness improve even more – and I’m sure Jack Jewsbury, as a TEAM player, will do everything he can to help Alvas get better.

Bottom line for Alvas were his two key passes on the attacking side and his 2 shots taken – with the last one being just a tad high to the far post as the game concluded… ¬†well done!

In closing…

This feature article will be offered up every week from this point on – I hope it adds value and helps others better understand the nuance of football in that this game is not just about scoring goals…

All the best, Chris

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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