The away battle against Vancouver has definitely left most fans bewildered with how we could not even scrape one point from the match. A game where possession was dominated by Portland, not to mention much of that control was in Vancouver's half.
In the end, we are left with points the team can refine and some that just need changing. First, we need to take a look at the stats from the game and see what lies in the numbers that governed our performance away.
After one has reviewed some of these basic stats it can definitely leave a fan with a sour taste in their mouth. That is the game sometimes, and these do not tell the whole story. One of the key issues the Timbers had was active shooting in the opposing half. While Portland maintained immense possession there was a total inefficiency in attack and if anything too much build up and patience. A few more risks needed to be taken, more creativity in tight spaces and dynamism between the strikers and feeding midfielders.
An issue Portland had in the attack was the new double-striking set up between Urutti and Adi. A pairing many had been yearning for in a meaningful game. At the end of the game, the pair left a lot to be desired. Urruti had a tendency to find himself on the wings rather than centered for crosses into the box, which hurt the teams scoring attempts since it left Adi alone. There is tons of talent on the wings to feed balls, Urutti was not needed there and he should have been forced back to the top with Adi.
Still, crosses and wide attacks are the two attacking styles that found the most success in the game for Portland. A part of the game that should be refined. Asprilla showed glimpses of brilliance with some of his headers just missing their target.
In general the team did not play with a lot of form positionally. Everyone, but Ridgewell and Borchers played all over the place. For the most part, many of our players played most of the game in the opposing half but with poor distancing. Meaning we had so many up from the distance between the midfielders and the center defenders got so high that we left ourselves wide open to counter attacks. In conclusion, was the sword through the heart for Portland. This in conjunction with the amount of unforced errors made in passing, transition and dribbling hurt the teams build up in a multitude of plays.
The team can hold their heads high knowing they did play well, but again with some minor errors that could have made the difference. With Diego Valeri still out, the rock needed in the midfield for Portland is missed in some immensely tangible ways after this weekend.
The keys to walk away from this match are:
- Possession is not something the team struggles with.
- Positionally the team needs to be more structured instead of free roaming for some players.
- Increase efficiency of long crosses from the wings.
- Break down structured defenses better with creativity and less predictability.
- Reduce midfield errors.