Portland Timbers

Timbers travel to Rio Tinto… Expectations…

The 2014 season doesn’t get any easier for the Portland Timbers this weekend as they travel to take on their nemesis of 2013.

Forward into the past…

Last year the Portland Timbers averaged 54.42% possession with their Passing Accuracy (across the entire pitch) being 78.41%.  This year the Timbers average 52.50% possession with a Passing Accuracy of 72.36%.

  • With improved passing accuracy there should be a corresponding improvement in possession.  If the Timbers wish to remain a possession based team their passing accuracy needs to improve.  If you want to check out some individual passing completion percentages for the Timbers check this link; if not let’s move on.
  • Be advised – when you do check out that link to whoscored.com notice the ranking of players…
  • Also note that Whoscored.com does not count crosses or throw-ins as passes. If you read this article and Part II of that series you’ll know that none of the major soccer statistics sites count possession percentage or passing accuracy the same way; and to exclude crosses from the overall passing total is…
  • By the way, I don’t use Whoscored.com for any of my analysis – just thought if you were interested you could see their site and info…

This year Portland has penetrated the attacking third 19.24% of the time when they possess the ball based upon their number of completed passes in the attacking third versus the number of completed passes across the entire pitch.  

  • In that penetration they have attempted a shot taken 22.15% of the time based upon those number of completed passes in the attacking third.  Of those shots taken 27.68% have been on goal and 35.71% of those shots on goal have resulted in a goal.
  • Last year they had penetrated 25.34% of the time and generated just 15.60% of those penetrations into shots taken.  Of those shots taken 36.33% were on goal and 36.89% of those shots on goal were goals scored.
  • What’s that mean? – in my view that means they are taking more shots with less penetration – and the more shots they have taken the less accurate they’ve been and the fewer goals they’ve scored.
  • In other words quantity has increased and quality has decreased.  For me, and my Possession with Purpose statistical analysis performed last year, that may be a concern to the Timbers organization.
  • The top five teams that had that pattern of attacking results last year were Chicago Fire, Philadelphia, FC Dallas, Montreal and Columbus – only Montreal made the Playoffs out of those five teams and they just slid in ahead of Chicago.
  • The top two teams that have that pattern of attack this year (so far after 6 weeks) are Montreal and San Jose – both current bottom dwellers in their respective conferences.
  • Quantity just doesn’t seem to beat quality…

In closing…

Clean sheets are critical – you always get one point if you hold your opponent scoreless – three points are needed but one point in Rio Tinto is a very good result right now…

If you’ve not read my Introduction to PWP and some explanations that go with it you can click here.

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.