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Portland Timbers vs Houston Dynamo: Halftime Analysis

Match Gallery: Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids

Defensive Spacing

The goal the Timbers conceded was on a counter attack. The Timbers got caught on a 4v4 break, and had all their defenders in the center of the pitch. Alvarez started his run from the right touchline. Alvarez ran onto a through ball that brought him towards the center, but he was still on the shoulder of Vytas. David Guzman was also tracking back to help with Alvarez. Both Guzman and Vytas dove in at the same time, which opened up space for Alvarez to sneak through, find space, and put the ball in the back of the net.

No one stood Alvarez up before he entered the box. Also, Vytas played Alvarez like the last defender, rather than as a marker, because he tried to absorb Alvarez as much as possible before making the tackle. Should Vytas have stepped up to Alvarez sooner and hold him up or force him outside, Alvarez doesn’t get the shot on goal, because of the backup Vytas had. The communication among the back line needs to improve. And, if the midfields and forward are going to play fairly fluid position wise, so should the back four.

Owning the Center of the Pitch

The Timbers have more than enough creative players, and are putting their speed and individual talent to use. PTFC have had the majority of their chances though the middle of the pitch. Diego Valeri, Dairon Asprilla, and Fenando Adi combined in small spaces to play through the gaps between the center backs. Alvas Powell has also gotten in on the action, overlapping from the right back position to put Christian Pulisic-like passes across the face of goal. That’s how PTFC scored their lone goal of the half. Sebastian Blanco put a ball through the back line to the back post from the left side, and Dairon Asprilla was there to tap it into the net.

Timbers will start the second half tied 1-1 with Houston. The starters will stay on for 15 minutes before subbing out at around the 60’ mark.