Portland Timbers v LA Galaxy – Sunday: 1130 AM
National TV – A marquee match-up between two very competitive teams – Possession and Penetration with patience, persistence and purpose should see Portland pull three points…. I hope!
Win one is under the belt, a great confidence builder all around and the season continues. If you have missed my last few articles you should know that the Timbers are performing much better these last few weeks (on both sides of the ball) than earlier this year.
So what to expect for Sunday afternoon?
I’d expect the starting eleven against DC United are the same starting eleven against LA; it’d almost be rude not to given the Timbers got their first win last weekend.
I’d expect LA to work both the wings and the middle – when at home they average ~22% of their final third passes as crosses – while on the road they average ~14%.
In other words they can play out wide or they can play inside – it doesn’t matter. Porter knows this and the back four will have to be even more engaged and locked in than they were for DC United.
Critical against LA is keeping a clean sheet. Why?
Well LA are pretty strong in defending but they’ve taken a few knocks in their back-four. So much so that Robbie Rogers has been playing fullback with LAG II and Gonzalez is not available for Sunday…
In seeing that change in the LAG back-four we should be hopeful that the resurgent Timbers attack nets at least one, if not two goals…
And if only able to put one past the Galaxy back-four it means a clean sheet to get three points.
I tweeted during the last game that Porter was going “all-in” when he brought on Urruti for Jewsbury near the end of regulation – I sense Caleb might not do that this time given LA are a Western Conference foe…
In case you missed it, and highly unlikely, you know that Gavin Wilkinson was touring Europe for about two weeks to shore up the team as the heat of summer grows near. Here’s some stray voltage on what positions might need upgraded…
- Perhaps a Central Defender. Why? Well Norberto Paparatto was signed to start as a central defender this year and he hasn’t taken the form that fits best in shutting down opponents.
- Perhaps a Fullback. Why? If Alvas Powell or Jorge Villafana were ready they’d be starting – something isn’t fitting and with Jack losing some pace these last two years I’d expect a seasoned player (late 20’s?) might be in the mix at right fullback.
- Perhaps another Striker (typical #9). Why? For me a typical #9 might be needed to add someone to the team who can get a bit more physical up top. This adds some flexibility with aerial power like dealing with crosses, free kicks or corners in set-piece conditions (both attacking and defending). Additional needs should probably include having this player show a good motor for applying pressure when Portland don’t have the ball.
Bottom line is… whoever comes on board they need to be first rate in passing and have a great first touch.