Winning… three points elude Timbers again!
I’d like to join the celebratory bandwagon on the Timbers scratching back a draw in this game, against all odds, but I won’t. I’m more haunted by how they put themselves in the same old position, again, to begin with.
Here’s a few things to consider:
Fullbacks for the Timbers routinely have the most or next to most touches on this team in every single game so far this year; an exception has been Kah in one game and Valeri in another. And no – that doesn’t include Throw-ins, I threw out the throw-in data.
The players with the most touches on this team are not the players who regularly have the best passing accuracy.
The players with the highest passing accuracy are Will Johnson, Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe, with Kalif, Futty JJ all exceeding 80% while Fernandez and Zakuani are near 80%.
Diego Valeri has a lower passing accuracy (71% according to squawka.com) given the attention he draws from the opponents and his sometimes searching through balls and visionary passes that might get missed by teammates.
There’s an old adage in soccer that in order to possess and move the ball forward the guys who you want to touch the ball the most are your best players… for the Timbers they are Will Johnson, Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe.
There’s also an old adage in soccer that teams who consistenty win do so with a strong defense… first… it’s boring at times but winning is the point here – not not-losing. And data from leagues across the world continue to substantiate that adage year in and year out. If you don’t believe me check out Anderson and Sully, two top analysts with Prozone…
So what might that mean to the Timbers in looking forward with the intent to win and win alot versus not-lose?
It could mean many different things but when it all comes down to it I wouldn’t be surprised to see Caleb Porter take a different approach on formation – perhaps a Diamond 4-4-2 or something else?
And I also wouldn’t be surprised to see some new faces in defense… and that doesn’t mean new players on the team it means new faces playing in defense and not elsewhere.
Bottom line at the bottom – the goals against and mistakes leading to those goals against in the back four MUST stop… if they don’t the season will be a very short one compared to last year.
Other avenues to consider for Portland this year are the US Open Cup and the upcoming Champions League… and the ever interesting Cascadia Cup. However viewed there are plenty of games remaining and plenty to play for.