On Saturday, the Portland Timbers lost 4-1 against an up-and-coming FC Dallas team, led by Jesus Ferreira, who scored a hat trick in the span of ten minutes. Here’s my breakdown of how the Timbers players performed as they slid down to ninth in the Western Conference.
(One thing to note: I added some more detailed statistics from FBref this weekend to the formula that analyzes defenders, so it will be difficult to compare the player grades this week to those last week)
Aljaž Ivačič (GK) - 2.5
In contrast to his low activity in goal last week, Ivacic had a lot more to do against FC Dallas, yet he didn’t do much with his opportunities. Two different measures of expected conceded goals stated that Ivacic should have prevented about one more goal than what went in. In addition to his goalkeeping, Ivacic’s passing out of the back was better than last week, but still below-average as the Slovenian completed just 81% of his passes and 57% of his long balls.
José Van Rankin (RB) - 4.8
Overall, Jose Van Rankin had a slightly below-average game. He ranked above-average in his total actions, passing, and defending grades but was below average in his playmaking and dribbling grades. Defensively, Van Rankin completed 67% of his duels (above-average for a fullback) and was successful in 43% of his pressures. However, he didn’t apply pressure too much (just under nine times per 90) so that could have potentially played a role in the back line’s struggles. Van Rankin also had no playmaking threat going forward, as he didn’t attempt a single cross or pass to the penalty area. Additionally, he completed just 50% of his passes to the final third. The Mexican also lost possession five times in his own half.
Zac McGraw (CB) - 5.3
McGraw had an average game as he ranked above average in his defense and passing grades, but below average in his total actions, aerial duels, and carries grades. McGraw only attempted four defensive duels per 90 but completed all of them. When it came to applying pressure, McGraw was pretty good. He completed 55% of his presses. In regards to his passing, McGraw completed 84% of his passes (which ranked him slightly above-average), 81% of his forward passes (also above average), and completed his lone long ball of the day. So on a day where Portland’s back line conceded four goals, I thought McGraw actually had an average game for players in his position.
Bill Tuiloma (CB) - 6.2
Apart from his carries, Tuiloma had a pretty solid game. He completed 100% of his defensive duels and 67% of his pressures although he attempted just six pressures and four defensive duels in the match. Perhaps this inactivity could be one of the issues that plagued the back line for the Timbers, as most of the defenders didn’t attempt many defensive duels or pressures even though they gave up four goals. Anyway, like McGraw, Tuiloma was also very efficient with his passing as he completed 87% of his passes, 78% of his eight long balls, and 80% of his passes into the final third. So apart from his inactivity at the back, Tuiloma actually had a pretty solid game.
Claudio Bravo (LB) - 7.4
While most of the Timbers backline was inactive while defending, Bravo certainly wasn’t. He attempted 29 pressures and 15 defensive duels in the match. Furthermore, the Argentine completed 88% of his duels and 35% of his pressures, both above average for fullbacks. Because of this strong defensive effort, Bravo’s total actions grade also ranked very high among defenders. He also had an average game going forward and passing-wise. He attempted a lot of passes but completed them at a low rate. For example, Bravo attempted 56 passes per 90, which ranks very high among players in his position, and completed just 73% percent of these passes, firmly below average for his position.
Diego Chara (CM) - 7.4
Despite the defeat, D. Chara had another good game for the Timbers as he ranked highly in almost every category. This trend can be observed through his total actions percentage, as Diego completed 83% of his total actions, which is very high for players in his position. The Colombian also completed 98% of his passes, which is very impressive, and his passes didn’t lack quality either. He completed 92% of his forward passes and 100% of his seven passes into the final third. If you had to pick one thing to critique from his performance, it would be D. Chara’s defensive inactivity. In his time on the field, he registered just six defensive duels and recovered the ball only seven times, both below average for center midfielders. Apart from this observation, D. Chara had a good game and hopefully, he can replicate this performance against Orlando this week.
David Ayala (CM) - 6.3
In his first start for the Timbers, Ayala had a solid performance as he ranked near the average in all major categories except his offensive production, in which he ranked above average. The Argentine landed his lone shot of the night on target and completed 71% of his seven offensive duels per 90. He did lose the ball fairly often (10 times per 90 and four times per 90 in his own half), but Ayala was precise with his passing, completing 86% of his overall passes and 67% of his long balls. When it came to his playmaking, Ayala struggled a bit. He completed just 67% of his passes to the final third and 61% of his forward passes, which are both below-average for center midfielders. Although Ayala had some weaknesses in his first start for the Timbers, he had a pretty decent game overall, and considering his age, I definitely expect to see more from him in the future.
Yimmi Chara (CAM/RW) - 5.2
Y. Chara had a solid game from a passing/playmaking perspective but he struggled with his dribbling. The Colombian attempted just two dribbles in the match and completed none of them. He similarly attempted four offensive duels and completed half (pretty good for his position). The statistics that I have the most concern about are his lack of dribbles and offensive duels but that could be because the Timbers were on the back foot for most of the game. Playmaking-wise, Y. Chara registered four shot assists in the match and completed two of his three passes into the penalty area while also maintaining a high pass percentage at 86%, which shows that Y. Chara can be an efficient and effective passer of the ball.
Santiago Moreno (RW) - 2.9
Moreno really struggled to get anything going this game and was subbed off shortly after halftime for Sebastian Blanco. His total action percentage was abysmal (41%) which is indicative of how the game went for him. He completed just 61% of his total passes and recorded zero crosses, progressive runs, fouls suffered, and passes to the final third. So I think it’s pretty obvious that Moreno had a bad game and he’ll look to rebound against Orlando City.
Jaroslaw Niezgoda (ST) - 5.3
After having a few poor games at the start of the season, Niezgoda recorded his first goal of the MLS campaign. Apart from this goal though, he was pretty much a non-factor in this game. The Pole completed only 64% of his passes, which ranks him well-below average and took only one shot in the game, which was the goal he scored (for comparison, the rest of the Timbers took 11 shots combined). This trend of inactivity could be a result of the Timbers’ system or his beginning of the season form, but more games will be needed to determine the true reason behind this. Nevertheless, Niezgoda’s lack of activity in the game negatively impacted his grades, but he generally improved across the board from his last game, so Timbers fans should still be optimistic about his production this season.
Dairon Asprilla (LW) - 5.5
Asprilla had a good game defensively along with his passing/playmaking. But he struggled to get anything going with his dribbling. In addition to missing a big chance, Asprilla completed just one of his two dribbles and 23% of his offensive duels, which ranks very low for wingers. But Asprilla was strong defensively. He completed 83% of his defensive duels and recovered the ball six times. Asprilla also completed 80% of his passes, including two of his three crosses along with 80% of his forward passes, displaying some adept passing in the process.
Sebastian Blanco (CAM) - 6.0
Blanco had a solid game, as he came on and delivered a beautiful ball over the top for Niezgoda to run after which led to the Pole’s goal. But there were definitely some things I would like to see him improve on, such as his dribbling and total actions. Dribbling-wise, the Argentine did not complete a single offensive duel in his three attempts, which partly could be due to the defensive-minded attitude of the Timbers. However, you would still expect a player of Blanco’s quality to attempt and/or complete more duels offensively. In regards to his total actions, Blanco completed just 47.5%, which is a very low percentage for players in his position. He also lost the ball pretty frequently, averaging around sixteen losses per 90. So although Blanco’s passing and playmaking were on full display with his assist, there are some areas he could definitely improve on in his next performance.
Justin Rasmussen - N/A
Dario Zuparic - N/A
Blake Bodily- N/A
These players aren’t graded because I currently do not have a grading system that will fairly evaluate players who played under 30 minutes compared to the rest of the team who played most of the game. This is something that I want to improve and would like to add in the future.