Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers visit LA Galaxy July 4th – National TV

To tarry on the ball will be costly – quickness, precision, and solid defense, to include great goal keeping, are a must today for the Timbers.

A heavy task considering how depleted the Center-back ranks are – and – with no hesitation – how ineffective the defending, and – at times – the goal keeping, has been this year.

Who lines up today in the back is unclear to me, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jack Jewsbury settle in as a central defender.  

Why?

His speed isn’t top notch any more but his cerebral play remains pretty sharp.

And somehow, today, I’m not seeing speed being the factor as much as the mental awareness needed on tracking where and how Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, and others line up and play.

As for the fullbacks; it’s likely Harrington and Villafana get the call on the right and left side respectively.  If O’Rourke and McKenzie start then I’d expect to see Taylor Peay and Jack Jewsbury on the subs bench.

However the back four line-up the midfielders will need to play their role in clogging the area atop the 18 yard box and as the LA Galaxy penetrate the Timbers defending final third.

Could Caleb throw Taylor Peay into the deep end to see how he does?   If the score-line gets pair shaped I’d expect he might…

In moving on to the Timbers attack and the other side of the pitch…

In attack the Timbers have been incredibly dangerous.

Outside of Seattle (2.06) and Vancouver (1.67); the Timbers are third best in average goals scored per game; 1.65…  hmmm bit of a Cascadia Cup flavor to that list…

And in looking at their comprehensive “attacking” team performance indicators (possession with purpose) they are second best in MLS; second only to that city up north.

In closing…

I expect a free flowing game with plenty of action on both sides of the pitch – if a team is going to try and slow the game it is likely to be Portland.

That may run counter to what some others believe, but the greater the chances the Timbers have of being out of position, the more likely the LA Galaxy are to score…

In considering who starts and who doesn’t… Caleb has plenty of options – and one, in particular, we’ve not yet seen… starting a game with Gaston Fernandez and Fenando Adi playing up top.

A set up like that might see Diego Valeri playing the attacking central midfield role, with Nagbe on the right and Wallace on the left; leaving Will Johnson a likely candidate to run the back end of the midfield…

However viewed, and however the team starts, the “goals against rot” needs to stop…

In this game – in this venue – defense must come first.  And even a draw here is a GREAT result given how leaky the back-four have been.

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.