I have decided to dispense with the quotes because it just felt like filler. So I have just cut to the chase and gone to the chalk board.
win draw was another great example of how dominate the two central midfielders can be. Vancouver's midfield, specifically Nigel Reo-Coker, ran roughshod on the LA Galaxy on the their way to a convincing 3-1 win. A quick comparison of Reo-Coker's heat maps show an interesting comparison.
(Sorry for the big white space, I forgot to crop the picture) As you can see Portland forced NRC to a variety of positions to either defend or to get open for a pass. Against the Galaxy he was able to find the holes in their formation and he was able to put his stamp on the game. In his stats you can see he had 10 less touches and also committed four more fouls. Both of those show that Portland put more pressure on him and also forced him to defend more.
Now let's take a look at Chara and what his stats and heat map looked like against Vancouver.
What I found interesting was Chara has usually been Portland's leader in passing accuracy but as we saw in the game he struggled just as Portland struggled. The other key stat was the fact that as often as he tackles a player for the ball he only committed two fouls but won the ball nine times. When he is on with his tackling he really disrupts the opponent's offense.
For some reason what sticks out in my mind about the "wardrobe-gate" was that Portland seemed to pass the ball to Vancouver in their half. Here are all the unsuccessful passes for everyone but the forwards and Donovan Ricketts:
As you can see there were quite a few unsuccessful passes, 94 to be exact, amongst all of mids and defenders. However, a lot of them were intercepted in Vancouver's half and not in Portland's, but there were some that did get intercepted in Portland's half. These created chances for Vancouver, especially Jack Jewsbury's pass back to Futty.
For whatever reason Portland had an off night when it came to passing. Even with an off night they still maintained over 60% of the possession, which just shows you how much Vancouver sat back and played for the counter or a free kick.