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Dealing with David Ferreira

The FC Dallas playmaker has been shredding defenses in MLS for five years now. How will the Timbers contain him tonight?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When you talk about FC Dallas you inevitably talk about David Ferreira. The Colombian playmaker has been vital to the success of the Hoops since his arrival to MLS in 2009, so naturally we asked Caleb Porter about Ferreira's impact on the game at practice yesterday.

He's obviously a classic number ten and he's a key guy for them. He's creative and he floats around and he pretty much has a free role so I think the key is to be organized no matter where he floats. We are not going to man mark him and give him so much attention that we pull our shape apart, but wherever he floats we need to make sure that we manage him wherever he runs in the zones that we play in.

Ferreira has, in his five years with Dallas, has scored 22 goals and registered 37 assists. When you take into account the fact that he only played 17 games in 2012 and 6 in 2011 after missing 45 straight games due to a broken foot, those numbers are even more astounding. In the six games he played in 2011, Ferreira already had racked up three goals and an assist to start off the season before his injury.

The biggest thing is to not allow him to operate in the spaces that he wants to get in. He likes to get in there underneath our back four and spring guys and play final balls. We need to make sure that when he tries to get into those spots that we collapse on him and not give him time and space to get faced up and hurt us.

This year Ferreira has yet to find his scoring touch, only putting one into the back of the net this season: Dallas's lone goal in their early season loss to Chivas USA. Despite a lack of scoring from Ferreira, he is still one of the top assist-men in the the league after setting up seven goals so far this season.

Ferreira does not only provide direct service for the Dallas attack, he also gets into dangerous spots and picks up fouls, letting Dallas make use of their big strikers and defenders in set-piece situations. Dallas have scored 15 times from free kicks this season, half of their goals, and many of those opportunities came from Ferreira getting fouls called.

Good players are cagey and smart and clever. They get out of hard spots. They get themselves in tough spots inside your zones, in and around the final third. The best players operate in those spaces and hurt you there. They punish you. He's a player that does that. The key is we have to get tight to him but we can't foul him, because they have him, and Michel, and even Benitez on set pieces. They are lethal there.

Ferreira has earned his team just under three fouls per game this year, leading the league in fouls suffered. So what should the Timbers do to deal with him?

I think the key is managing him defensively, getting tight to him, and being physical, but not giving away silly fouls in bad spots. He reminds me a lot of Camilo and the way that he plays. Camilo is a guy that draws a lot of fouls as well and he is a guy that turns those into goals, so we need to make sure that we are smart with that.