Portland Timbers

All that matters… Win…

In a Nationally televised match-up featuring two of the most popular teams in Major League Soccer the Portland Timbers will be going all-in Sunday afternoon.

No reminders needed about the complete balls up in that 4-4 draw earlier this year and gifting Dempsey those two late goals.

It’s all hope and belief that the back-four have sorted themselves out and the attacking matrix of Nagbe, Valeri, Fernandez, and (Wallace or Zakuani) in addition to (Urruti or Adi) will be the right blend to take three points.

For me the critical part of this game comes in the central midfield – for too many games I sense Will Johnson has simply not been switched in and switched on – that’s not to say he doesn’t play well – it’s just – that sense/feeling that 105% concentration hasn’t been there in leading this team… ┬áreally leading this team, on-field, in closing gaps and taking appropriate steps to shut down penetration.

With Dempsey playing, figure both Diego Chara and Will Johnson will both have to watch the middle as Dempsey rotates up high to pull the center-backs out of position.

If Seattle are stymied and stunned and stuffed in the middle then their only recourse is out wide – and if Nagbe lines up on the same side as Yedlin that may be a very intriguing situation indeed – in fact I’d love to see how that match-up would go…

Anyhow – no in-depth secrets here to success – possession and penetration with purpose and patience (with at least one goal scored and non against) is the key to success for Portland – the better advantage they take on the slowness of the Seattle center-backs the better…

In Closing…

Some may disagree – but it is likely the TV pundits will offer up that Chad Marshall is a great defender given all the tackles, interceptions, headers, and clearances he has – but another view is this…

Why does he have that large volume of defending activities?

The simple reason is because the opponent may choose, more often than not, to go in his direction…

And why would they do that? ┬áBecause the opponent Head Coach thinks and feels his team will have more success penetrating towards Marshall than the other side…

So when considering defensive statistics, and this game, more is not necessarily better…

Sometimes “what doesn’t happen on the pitch is more valuable than what does happen”…

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.