OK, so after 4 games...we have all been watching a completely struggling and misconnecting attack. The D isn't playing badly. Weber did a fine job in the nets last night, too.
But our attack is really hurting. It is almost unrecognizable. There have been a few stretches of dominance, but those always are short-lived and have resulted in backlash.
Here's the thing.
The T's play 4-5-1...regardless of who is called a forward and who is called a midfielder. Regardless of what a TV announcer might say.
A 4-5-1 requires speedy, burning wing players who push the pace and the ball on the outside lanes.
People were always torn about Sal Zizzo. But the great thing about Sal was...he was a pure winger. Period. He's gone now. A little perplexing to me given that Porter and the T's knew that RW's injury would keep him out for a long time.
RW ...again, people here tend to be torn about him, and this is also perplexing to me. Because RW is the OTHER pure winger on the T's. And even if his stats were only so-so, he scored some super-important goals and also had some gorgeous assists. But even beyond that, he just made it hell for opponents...because they had to deal with (yup) a speedy winger with good footwork tearing it up on the wings the whole game.
This dynamic makes your opponent have to pin back on D a bit...it keeps their outside FB from pushing forward, keeps their stopper's attention on providing support to the outside....and keeps their outside MF from taking too many chances up the pitch.
The Timbers we have watched thus far this year...have been playing NO wingers.
Porter has decided to use a trio of #10's as his attacking midfield (Nagbe-Valeri-Fernandez). It COULD conceivably work...it is certainly an interesting idea.
But it hasn't worked.
~ Because it relies on the OFB's taking up the slack for the missing MF wingers, which creates exposure on our back line. Plus, neither of our OFB's are particularly FAST. They are good, but not quick-footed.
~ Because none of the aforementioned three are pure wingers, so they do not play like pure wingers and they need not be defended like pure wingers.
The absence of RW is really showing. The element and dimension he added to the attack should now be crystal clear.
But The T's did do something good, a slight roll of the dice....in getting Zakuani. He's an exciting player. He is a pure winger. His footwork is good. He is blazing fast.
When he is allowed to get his legs back (which requires he play a lotta minutes) he can be a terror to opposing D's.
Lastly I mention (because I just KNOW someone is thinkin' it).....he wasn't offside ALL of those times in Colorado.
As RW isn't available.....they need to play Zakuani 70 minutes a game. It will totally change the complexion and flavor of the attack, and I would guess things will start clicking much more.
My 2 cents.