This week brought some exciting roster moves to the Timbers. Spencer Mercy
Killing Benching Hall, Nagbe's turn on the Zizzbe Merri-go-Round of fun, and, of course, KFC seeing the bench as he was replaced by Eddie Johnson in the startng lineup. The moves had some merit, but once again, we got pounded in the early going, giving up two goals in 20 minutes. With a key matchup against Seattle looming, and our beloved team reeling with 1 point in 6 matches, I pose this question: who do you want on the field this Sunday?
Further Discussion after the Jump!
I've seen some interesting theories floating around, both here and elsewhere, for how to cure our team's ailments. From the classic "bench them all and sign 11 fans who give a damn," all the way to "keep the ship steady and let the team gel." I'm curious as to what you guys think Spencer's best moves would be. In the interest of discussion, my ideal(and somewhat Half-baked) roster for Sunday would be:
D: Purdy, Danso, Brunner, Wallace
M: Zizzo, Jewsbury, Chara, Marcelin/Alhassan
Attacking Mid: Nagbe
First, a little on why I think this way. JW is going to be loud, and it's going to be pumped. The players are going to be up for this game. So I think the roster choices come down to whether Spencer believes they can press and score a quick goal, or whether emotions will get the best of them and they will concede early again. As little as I care to admit it, I think the latter is more likely. I definitely believe the Timbers could score early and blow Seattle out quickly, but recent form suggests otherwise. To that end, we have to find some way of stabilizing the sieve that is our back line. If we make it half an hour without giving up a goal, I have to think the Timbers pull something out. So how do we get there?
I do recognize Marcelin over Alhassan is an odd choice, but I think he gives us the best chance to hold the Sounders off. Alhassan has been fantastic, and his runs are jaw-dropping, but right now we are putting every through ball he sends into the stands. I'm not sure its worth his 2 or so
bone headed not entirely well thought out plays a match. After the game settles and the Sounders defense starts to wear out, we can bring him in for Marcelin(Approx 55th min). Leaving Perlaza on the bench was another choice that has less to do with form(certainly no worse than KFC) than with style of play. Kenny has not played well this year, but we are still a set piece dependent team, and he gives us a big man in the box who does have the talent to succeed. Perlaza has been logging heavy minutes, and hasn't really had much to show for it. Whether that's due to crappy service or crappy finishing probably isn't important right now. Bringing him on in the 65th or so, either for Nagbe or Zizzo, with the other dropping to(or staying at) mid, seems like a decent way to exploit his speed while giving him a rest. Having a fresh(er) Perlaza and Alhassan might tilt the scales, especially if we can at least keep even with Seattle to that point.
The biggest weakness of this lineup, me having no idea what I'm talking about excepted, is that it stretches our depth. Midfield is really our only good position, and our third sub can really only be Pore if we need a goal, and Marcelin is out if we score after Alhassan comes in. That said, it does put our best players on the field, and hopefully in a position to succeed.
On the other hand, if you believe in pushing for a goal from the start, I salute you, but I'm not sure how to get it. Ideas would be welcome. I'm hesitant to rely on the crowd alone, the Sounders will be pumped too, and they are simply playing better football right now. We did it before, in our early winning streak, but since then we simply can't make the big play early, and we aren't very good at coming from behind at the moment.
All that said, I remain optimistic. The Cascadia Cup is there for the taking, the playoffs are still well within reach, and our team isn't nearly as bad as most expansion efforts(Sorry Vancouver, but at least Crazy Hassli is fun to watch). This match is winnable, and to all of you lucky enough to be able to go, have a great time watching Seattle go down!