The Portland Timbers put on a show that was eerily similar to the one was got used to during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Well, while that was technically a soccer game, I think you'll be hard pressed to find many people who actually enjoyed the performance put on by the squad. I've noted it a few times over various parts of this website and Twitter, but it's true that the match played between the Portland Timbers and FC Dallas was very similar to the kind of soccer we had grown accustom to during 2011 and 2012. After Sunday night's excitement, I just don't think that kind of lob-ball tactics will win over fans.
That said, let's find out how the individual players performed:
Jake Gleeson - 6
Geoff: Considering how heavy the FC Dallas offense was, I would say that Gleeson actually had a fairly decent game. While the final tally was nil-1, he managed to save a few goals from happening, or otherwise tip them over the net. It certainly wasn't an easy night for the New Zealander, but he continues to show promise and that's why he continues to be a part of this team.
Sal Zizzo - 4
Geoff: It was hoped heading into this match that Zizzo's speed and agility on the ball would allow him to become a better right back than right mid. Unfortunately, his crosses and ability to see through the game continued to be lacking throughout. Cross after cross was made in an ill attempt to do something. What? We certainly don't know. Sal's performance as a right back may yet come to pass, but this match didn't seal the position for him.
Calum Angus - 5
Geoff: Decent. Uninspired, but decent considering the FC Dallas onslaught. There's little to say other than that about the trialist. Did he secure his contract? Nope. Did he screw up royally? Nope. Carry on Calum.
Futty Danso - 5
Will: Although he was a beast in the air, Futty struggled with his touch, giving away possession in the Timbers box several times. Only a poor Kenny Cooper touch and a nice tackle kept his rating relatively neutral. Futty's inability to play the ball out of pressure in a controlled manner also generally destroyed the Timbers chances for possession.
Ryan Kawulok - 5
Stacey: Kawulok was pretty solid on defense, but looked out of sorts on offense, probably a result of playing on his weak side. He did manage to put a couple dangerous balls into the box when he was able to cut back onto his right foot.
Ben Zemanski - 3
Geoff: Lost is the word I would best use to describe Zemanski. Granted that he has only been training the with the team for little more than a few days now, there was still something completely missing from Zemanski against FC Dallas.
Danny Mwanga - 3
Stacey: Even though he's playing out of position, it is confusing to me that Mwanga can look so bad out there. He didn't seem really committed to the defensive side of his midfield duties and even on the attack his passing looked sloppy and nervous. Particularly damning for a guy who is entering his fourth year in MLS and probably should be challenging for a starting spot is that the midfield and the offense looked much better when he was subbed out.
Rodney Wallace - 4
Will: Wallace continually seemed like he was on the verge of doing something very nice for the team against Dallas but it never quite came together for him. He tackled well then played sloppy passes to his teammates, he was one of the only Timbers to attempt to switch the field but his long passes were consistantly cut out, he got the ball in dangerous attacking areas, but could not get a shot off. It was close to a good performance, but not close enough.
Michael Nanchoff - 6
Will: Nanchoff held the ball well, showed some invention, and rarely gave away possession cheaply. On the defensive side of things he worked hard and put high pressure on the ball. His passing was a little sloppy, but the decisions that he made with the ball at his feet were about the least frustraiting from all the Timbers out there on Wednesday night.
Stacey: In his post-game press conference, Caleb Porter said he was trying to get Valencia to buy into the idea that talent alone is not enough for success, that he will also have to work hard and do the little things on the field. It looks like Porter is pretty convincing, because Valencia was definitely putting in the hard work on Sunday. He chased after every long ball from the defense, put pressure on the Dallas keeper and defense, and ran back into the Timbers' own half to make some defensive plays. Unfortunately, he didn't get the payoff for his hard work, due in part to lack of support and playing with a line-up that clearly hasn't had time to gel yet.
Geoff: I'm going to go a little light on Piquionne for a couple of reasons. First, he wasn't terrible. Yeah he didn't score, but his positioning and pace were fairly decent throughout. Second, he literally just arrived the night before and had been training with the team for a matter of hours. There was absolutely no way we could expect him to perform at optimum with a team he's never trained with before and with a team comprised of youth and trialists. I would love to see how he looks with the first team, if given the chance.
Stacey: I was pleasantly surprised by his composure, especially given that this was the same guy who took out a teammate at the edge of the box on Sunday. Tucker-Gangnes did not look like a rookie on Wednesday. It's always great to see evidence that the team is actually communicating on the field and one of the many positives of his game was that Tucker-Gangnes obviously talking to his teammates, gesturing for them to pass to him, indicating that they should switch the field, etc. He made smart plays and good passes, and he didn't aimlessly hang out around the 18-yard box when there was a player unmarked.
Geoff: Still lots to prove from Rincon, especially if he wants to turn this loan into something a little more official at the end of this season. He's certainly young, but I was left far more impressed with the equally aged Valencia.
Mobi Fehr: N/A
Geoff: No score for Mobi tonight. While he did get in a solid 15 or so minutes of playing time, there just wasn't enough playing time to really rank him. I will say that he wasn't disappointing, I would just like to see more of him.
What did you think of the individual players last Wednesday? How would you rank them?