As the title suggests, I am curious to see if a 3-4-3 system could work for Gio better than our current 4-2-3-1. What brought this curiosity up might you ask? Well my second favorite team is Borussia Dortmund. And it just so happens that at the beginning of their season, they played a 4-2-3-1 system very similar to the Timbers and (stop me if this sounds familiar) they had an issue playing against teams that sat deep and waited for counter attacks to grab a goal and hold on for 1 or 3 points they should not have won. But about a third of the way through the season, Lucien Favre (the head coach) made a big tactical change that saw a huge swing in points and corrected the problem. Instead of typing it all out here please feel free to visit this link and read about how it all worked out https://bvbbuzz.com/2020/03/20/borussia-dortmund-analysis-3-4-3-system-lucien-favre/2/ .
After witnessing BVB have their bad start and watching the Timbers follow in almost identical fashion I have quickly moved towards figuring out if the Timbers had the personnel to do something similar. And it turns out that I think they do. Let me explain.
Using Zuparic on the left and Mabiala on the right leaves Tuiloma in the center. I choose this because he is probably the most athletic and accurate passer of the CBs and he has already played CDM which would be a similar role in this system. Having 3 defenders staying back will help stop the counter attacks and give more coverage on that troublesome far post. Both of those issues have been the cause of almost every goal scored against the Timbers this year.
Paredes and Chara are the obvious CMs in this formation. the RWB would be perfect for Moreira since he essentially is already playing in that role. I also think that Yimmi would be a good fit on the left. If you read the article I linked from above, it explains that the LWB (played by a LM) and the RWB for BVB flourished in the roles offensively. Using Yimmi to connect with Blanco and Niezgoda could result in lots of goals for all 3.
Blanco on the left and Valeri on the right are the obvious choices. They can each trade positions as well as the game dictates. The ST would be Niezgoda/Ebobisse/Mora.
I like this setup because it exploits the wings of a team while providing good defensive cover against counter attacks. The center of the park will not be populated by the Timbers that much, but that will create space for players to make runs. This formation is not perfect, because no formation really is. The formation does fix the holes in the team/strategy while promoting the best parts. I at least think it is worth a conversation.