On Saturday, the Portland Timbers lost 2-0 against the Colorado Rapids, who played with ten men for the last thirty minutes of the game. The Timbers were on the back foot and defended for most of the game and never seemed to get into a rhythm to string together multiple quality chances.
Here’s my breakdown of how the Timbers’ players performed as they moved down into the 10th position in the Western Conference.
Aljaž Ivačič (GK) - 3.1
After producing some stellar shot-stopping performances, Ivacic fell back down to Earth against the Rapids. WyScout and FBref had the Slovenian conceding about 2.04 and 1.9 goals, which was right in line with the two goals that he conceded. However, American Soccer Analysis rated Ivacic’s goalkeeping as poor, as he attained a positive Goals-xG ratio of .8 (just in the 21st percentile) and he recorded a -1.3 goals added rating. Ivacic’s passing out of the back was fairly precise as he completed 92% of his passes (68th percentile), but he attempted just two long passes, indicating that his passes were fairly simple and he didn’t play a direct role in the Timbers build-up to their attack.
Jose Van Rankin (RB) - 4.2
Like most of the Timbers backline, Van Rankin struggled against the Rapids as he ranked below the 50th percentile for each major category. One notable statistic in JVR’s game last weekend was that he completed just 71% of his total passes, which ranked him in the 28th percentile. Because of his passing grade being so low, you might think that Van Rankin was attempting a lot of long forward passes and was getting into the attack fairly frequently. To an extent, you would be correct as JVR ranked in the 86th percentile for forward passes per 90; however, he ranked below the 50th percentile in crosses and progressive passes and below the 25th percentile in long passes and passes into the penalty area. Defensively, JVR was often attacked by wingers from the Rapids as he ranked above the 97th percentile in defensive duels; however, he ranked in just the 24th percentile for defensive duel percentage and just below the 50th percentile for recoveries, which indicates that he had a poor defensive performance in this game.
Bill Tuiloma (CB) - 4.0
Apart from his passing and total actions (which were subpar), Tuiloma really struggled against the Rapids, especially defensively. Apart from his defensive duel percentage, which was barely above average, Tuiloma ranked below the 50th percentile in every other defensive statistic and even below the 25th percentile for a good chunk of them. Tuiloma really struggled with his short passing (below the 12th percentile) and getting himself involved in the attack as he completed just one progressive pass, 62% of his forward passes (26th percentile), and none of his passes into the final third. Tuiloma is typically one of the best performers for this Timbers side, and he’ll look to get back on track against the Red Bulls in the coming days.
Larrys Mabiala (CB) - 3.6
While Mabiala was more impressive with his passing, he was worse than Tuiloma defensively and picked up a lot of fouls as well as an early yellow card. The Congolese international ranked below the 20th percentile in pressures and press percentage, which essentially sums up the fact that Mabiala didn’t attempt many challenges or pressures in the match, and when he did, he failed to dispossess the attacker throughout the match. As previously stated, Mabiala actually had a solid game passing the ball, as he completed nearly 93% of his passes (88th percentile), including all of his three long passes, both of his two passes into the final third, and over 85% of his forward passes (85th percentile).
Justin Rasmussen (LB) - 4.2
Apart from his total actions grade, Rasmussen had a rough game across the board as he ranked below the 45th percentile for each major category. The American struggled, especially in his defensive grade, as he ranked around the 33rd percentile. Although Rasmussen wasn’t attacked very much ( 27th percentile for defensive duels), he did win a good amount of his defensive duels (88th percentile). Outside of winning a large number of his defensive duels, the rookie didn’t help out much defensively as he recorded just one clearance and two recoveries and ranked in the bottom 5th percentile for pressures and press percentage. Going forward Rasmussen didn’t offer much of a threat either as he completed just 56% of his forward passes (29th percentile), one of his three passes into the penalty area, and neither of his two crosses (although he did complete 80% of his passes into the final third, which is impressive). Additionally, Rasmussen failed to attempt a single offensive duel, which essentially sums up his offensive game. It’s obviously going to be a learning curve for the rookie, but I think that for every four or five things that Rasmussen doesn’t perform well in, there is something that should provide Timbers fans with optimism for the future.
Eryk Williamson (CM) - 3.7
Like his last start, Williamson struggled with his defensive output while ranking slightly below average in his offensive and passing grades. The American recorded just one defensive duel in the match and ranked below the 32nd percentile for recoveries. If Williamson is going to be playing a center midfield (and not an attacking midfield) role, we are going to need to see more defensive output from him, because one defensive duel, in a match where the Timbers don’t have the lion’s share of possession and aren’t attacking most of the game, is just unacceptable in my opinion. When Diego Chara comes back, I think it would be interesting to see Williamson move into the number 10 role on the team (given Blanco isn’t back yet either), where he doesn’t have to worry much about defending and he can just focus on being creative and opening up opportunities for his teammates, which is arguably his biggest strength.
Cristhian Paredes (CM) - 4.5
Apart from his defensive grade (which was above-average), Paredes ranked poorly in his passing grade and slightly below average in his offensive grade. The Paraguayan completed just below 70% of his passes (8th percentile) and attempted very few passes in the match (19th percentile). In particular, Paredes really struggled in his short passing, as he completed just 69% of his passes (3rd percentile). Defensively, Paredes did a good job of pressing and forcing errors through his pressing and he ranked in the 76th percentile for pressures and the 94th percentile for press percentage. However, he ranked fairly low in his recoveries and defensive duels in the match, indicating that he didn’t go into many duels with opposing players. As you can see, Paredes certainly had some things that he did well in this game but he also performed well below average in other areas. He’ll look to try to gain more consistency with his production in his next game against the Red Bulls.
Yimmi Chara (CAM) - 6.8
For extended periods of this game, Yimmi looked like the only Timber player on the field who played with a sense of urgency and tried to create chances. The stats reflect this observation too as the Colombian piled up five shot-creating actions, nine progressive passes, and seven progressive runs in his time on the field. Additionally, Yimmi did a good job of winning the ball off of opponents from his pressures (90th percentile in press percentage) and ranked above the 80th percentile in recoveries, defensive duels, and defensive duel percentage. Yimmi was able to do all of this on a fairly low volume as he ranked in the 43rd percentile for total actions and in just the 9th percentile for touches in the attacking third. Therefore, there is no doubt in my mind that Yimmi was the best player for the Timbers in this game and hopefully some of his chances can turn into goals against the Red Bulls this week.
Dairon Asprilla (RW) - 4.2
It was a game of ups and downs for Asprilla, as the Colombian ranked above-average in his playmaking (58th percentile), but he also ranked very low amongst wingers with his passing (17th percentile). He pressed well and did a decent job tracking back and contributing defensively (53rd percentile), but the Colombian was absent for the most part on the offensive end. The likely reason for Asprilla’s up and down statistics is due to the fact that he ranked in just the 4th percentile for total actions. With that said, Asprilla still failed to make the most of his opportunities, especially in his passing as he completed just 56% of his total passes (4th percentile) and failed to find the mark on any of his three forward passes. Asprilla actually won a fair amount of his duels (58th percentile for defensive duel percentage and 72nd percentile for offensive duel percentage), but with his little involvement in the game and lack of a passing threat, it’s difficult to make out many concrete positives from Asprilla’s game against the Rapids.
Jaroslaw Niezgoda (ST) - 3.0
Apart from his pressing and aerial duels (which were slightly above average), Niezgoda was poor in this game as he ranked in the 30th percentile for his passing grade, 21st percentile for his dribbling grade, and below the 20th percentile for his total actions and shooting grades. I don’t want to keep repeating myself but I don’t know how to say this any other way: almost every week, Niezgoda receives a total actions grade below the 20th percentile, and this week there was no exception as Niezgoda ranked in the 7th percentile for total actions per 90. I’m starting to believe that because of the week-in-week-out nature of this trend, it’s not as much due to a lack of service to Niezgoda but it’s because of Niezgoda’s lack of off-ball movement into positions where he can receive the ball. Even when Niezgoda receives the ball, he is usually pretty poor with his actions, as was the case in this game, where he ranked in just the 9th percentile for total actions percentage, 7th percentile for passing percentage, and the 21st percentile for offensive duel percentage. Although there are a lot of negatives for Niezgoda to work on, some positives from his game this week were his pressures and recoveries (areas where Niezgoda has typically performed poorly) and his willingness to go pursue aerial duels, even if he won just one out of his six attempts.
Marvin Loria (LW) - 4.7
Loria got into some good offensive positions in the match, but he ultimately wasn’t able to capitalize and finish. Additionally, the Costa Rican struggled in the playmaking and defensive departments. As previously stated, Loria found himself with the best opportunities for the Timbers in this match (as indicated through his 0.37 xG), but he lacked the composure to finish those chances. Similar to Asprilla, it’s a difficult task to try and evaluate Loria’s entire performance because of his little involvement in the match, as the Costa Rican ranked in just the 5th percentile for total actions. An example of this trickle-down effect is Loria’s nine total attempted passes in the match. Even though Loria completed eight of his nine passes, there is very little to be said about his performance in this category other than the Timbers midfield and backline need to get the ball forward more.
Santiago Moreno (LW) - 4.9
Moreno did about average for players in his position when he came on, as most of his major statistical categories oscillated around the 50th percentile. The Colombian received slightly more overall service compared to his other forward teammates, as he ranked in the 12th percentile, which is still very poor but a slight improvement on Loria and Asprilla. However, Moreno was able to receive the ball in somewhat dangerous areas in the attacking third, as he ranked in the 84th percentile for touches in the attacking third, while Loria and Asprilla ranked below the 40th and 20th percentiles, respectively. With this added service, Moreno did some positive things such as completing both of his dribbles and passes to the penalty area, while ranking around the 80th percentile for forward passes and 98th percentile for progressive distance per carry; however, Moreno also completed just 17% of his offensive duels (8th percentile) and failed to record a shot-creating action in the match. All of this goes to show how Moreno’s grade would end up around an average game for a winger, as the good somewhat cancels out the bad. Hopefully, he can provide some more consistency next week against the Red Bulls.
Dario Zuparic (CB) - 4.5
Zuparic did a good job of carrying and passing the ball when he came on; however, like most of the Timbers' defense on this day, he really struggled in his aerial grade (sixth percentile) and defensive grades (16th percentile). When he came on, Zuparic definitely attempted to make things happen going forward as he racked up a whopping 27 yards per carry, by far the best I’ve ever seen. For comparison, an above-average performance from a center back in this category would be around 4 yards per carry, so Zuparic definitely tried to get the ball forward. In addition to this carrying statistic, Zuparic completed all of his forward passes and passes into the final third with more attempts per 90 than either of the starting Timbers center backs.
David Ayala () - N/A
Blake Bodily () - N/A
Zac McGraw () - 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 upon in the future.