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Seven Numbers for Seven Matches

One goal allowed by the Timbers when Andres Flores is on the field. Plus/Minus is a great tool for getting a snapshot of a player or group of players in fast-paced sports like basketball. But given the rotation (see below) the Timbers are using, it’s somewhat interesting that it’s Andres Flores is not only one of the five players who have a positive plus/minus, but leads the team with a plus/minus of +5.

MLS: Portland Timbers at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Four Timbers have plus/minus of -5 or worse. This is the problem a very lopsided result creates when you have a small sample size. Some context: yes, each of these players started the Red Bulls game and the bulk of Flores’s minutes have been in the defensive-oriented Christmas Tree.

Seven different starting lineups. Just like with his Cosmos teams, Giovanni Savarese has shown he likes to rotate his starting XI. 19 different Timbers have started, but five players appeared in every match: Larrys Mabiala, Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco, Zarek Valentin and Cristhian Paredes.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Portland Timbers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

194 clearances made by the Timbers (versus 107 clearances forced ). Build from the back? Not so much, it turns out. This is not a product of the team playing their first games on the road; 31 of those clearances came in the home opener against Minnesota.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Portland Timbers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

110 shots allowed by the Timbers defense. That roughly breaks down to a hair under 16 shots per game. That’s pretty high and, indeed, is near the most in the league. The silver lining: 45 (41%) of those shots are from outside of the 18-yard box.

Six fewer interceptions a game. Through the first four games the Timbers directly gave the ball to the other team 17 times a game. As the the team gets more familiar with Savarese’s system, they’ve cut that down to 11 per game. That breaks down to six fewer counterattack opportunities Portland is giving opponents each week.

MLS: Portland Timbers at San Jose Earthquakes John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

5-1 aggregate score from two road losses in San Jose in 2017. It’s tempting to look past a team that’s gotten two points from six games, especially after the Timbers have a bye week to prepare for them. Ignore the Quakes at your own risk, because roads trips to San Jose were a disaster for Portland last season.