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Player Grades: Portland Timbers 1-4 Sporting KC

It was a disappointing performance from the Timbers, given the tight race for those final playoff spots in the Western Conference.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Sporting Kansas City Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Timbers lost 1-4 against Sporting KC in a game where they really struggled in the first half— which ultimately cost them any chance of getting back into the game.

Here’s my breakdown of how the Timbers’ players performed as they dropped into the 10th position in the Western Conference, outside of the playoffs.

Aljaz Ivacic (GK) - 0.9

So I personally think this is a low grade for Ivacic but there is a solid explanation from the grading system for such a low grade. First of all, Ivacic did not have the best passing game, completing just 69% of his total passes and 50% of his long passes, although he achieved a fairly high total pass grade (64th percentile) and long pass grade (97th percentile). But, Ivacic was poor in goal, as he ranked around the 11th percentile for his goalkeeping grade. Multiple data sources had Ivacic’s goalkeeping xCG (expected created goals) at around 2.5 or 3, indicating that Ivacic should have saved at least one of the goals, which is very poor for a goalkeeper.

Jose Van Rankin (RB) - 5.5

Apart from dribbling, which ranked very low in only the 12th percentile, Van Rankin had a solid overall performance. He was consistent across nearly all of his categories, ranking in the 59th percentile for total actions, 52nd percentile for passing, 64th percentile for playmaking, and the 52nd percentile for his defensive grade.

Dario Zuparic (CB) - 4.6

Zuparic’s performance against Sporting KC was a bit all-over-the-place as he ranked in the 60th percentile for his total actions, 37th percentile for his passes, 55th percentile for his aerials, 45th percentile for his defense, and just the 29th percentile for his carries. The likely reason for this volatility was due to the fact that Zuparic did not attempt many total actions, as he ranked in just the eighth percentile for that category.

Larrys Mabiala (CB) - 5.3

Mabiala’s performance was also very inconsistent, as while he performed well in his aerials (71st percentile), carrying (64th percentile), and defensive (65th percentile) grades, he had a very low total actions grade in the 27th percentile and also had a below-average passing grade in the 42nd percentile.

Now, while Mabiala really struggled to deal directly with a ball that led to a goal for Sporting KC, this grading system doesn’t focus on an individual action from a defender and instead rates the sum of the actions as a whole (it would be a great addition to have data that would allow me to objectively view an individual action in relation to a goal or big chance, but currently I don’t have that information). To support my point on the grade’s stance on Mabiala’s defensive work, I added in a radar chart that covers all of Mabiala’s defensive grades. Lastly, I would like to add that the total actions (or lack thereof for Mabiala) can also indicate that Mabiala should have been a bit more aggressive with dealing with dangerous balls or pressing up on opposing attackers when he needs to.

Claudio Bravo (LB) - 7.3

In addition to recording a shot assist and three progressive runs, Bravo had a very consistent all-around performance. To be specific, the Argentine ranked in the 65th percentile for his total actions and passing, 61st percentile for his playmaking, 58th percentile for his defense, and the 66th percentile for his dribbling grade. Combining this well-rounded performance with some of Bravo’s contributions in the final third, it becomes clear why he was one of the best performers on a dreadful night for the Timbers.

Diego Chara (CM) - 3.9

Diego had a pretty poor all-around performance as he exceeded the 50th percentile in only his defensive category (55th percentile). As for his other categories, Chara ranked in the 35th percentile for his total actions, 45th percentile for his passing, and the 21st percentile for his offensive grade. Additionally, Chara fouled the opposition four times, which ultimately led to yet another yellow card for the Colombian.

Eryk Williamson (CM) - 5.6

Williamson’s performance was the epitome of being all-over-the-place as the American ranked slightly above-average in his total actions (61st percentile) and passing (55th percentile), really struggled in his defensive output (28th percentile), but excelled in his offensive output (72nd percentile). This was Williamson’s first start in over a month, so hopefully with more consistent minutes, he can produce a more well-rounded performance.

Sebastian Blanco (CAM) - 7.5

Apart from scoring a lone goal when the Timbers were already 4-0 down, Blanco had a shaky overall performance as he once again struggled to make an impact in his dribbling (39th percentile) and pressing (20th percentile) categories, and despite solid playmaking and total actions grades, he was only able to muster an offensive grade in the 42nd percentile. Blanco did record some heavy contributions in the final third for the Timbers as he landed three of four shots on target in addition to two progressive runs and one through ball.

Yimmi Chara (Winger) - 3.3

Recently, a lot has been said on this site about Yimmi’s status as a DP-level player and this performance against Sporting KC did not help his cause. Yimmi did not exceed the 50th percentile in any of his categories and instead ranked in the 40th percentile for his total actions, 21st percentile for his offensive grade, 32nd percentile for his passing grade, 26th percentile for his playmaking grade, 31st percentile for his dribbling grade, and the 44th percentile for his defensive grade.

Jaroslaw Niezgoda (ST) - 3.9

After scoring four goals in five games for the Timbers, Niezgoda has now been held scoreless in his last four games. I think this type of streakiness and inconsistency should be expected from Niezgoda— at least for this season as he depends so much on chances created from attackers around him. This game was just another example of a trend we have seen all season, as Niezgoda ranked in the 38th percentile for his total actions, 26th percentile for his shooting, 44th percentile for his passing, 51st percentile for his dribbling, 86th percentile for his aerials, and the 35th percentile for his pressing. While this wasn’t a good performance from Niezgoda, it is encouraging to see an above-average performance in his dribbling category, which doesn’t rely on service as much.

Santiago Moreno (Winger) - 6.3

Despite not recording a goal or assist, Moreno had a solid performance against Sporting KC. He ranked in the 57th percentile for his total actions, 64th percentile for his offensive grade, 45th percentile for his passing grade, 76th percentile for his playmaking grade, 56th percentile for his dribbling grade, and the 50th percentile for his defensive grade. Moreno’s performance should not be overlooked against Sporting KC, as many players (young and old) on this team have shown an inability to produce consistent performances, and in just his second year in the league, Moreno has already shown his quality but is beginning to show his consistency on both a game-game and category-category basis.


Bill Tuiloma (CB) - 4.9

While Tuiloma struggled with his total actions grade (he ranked in the 27th percentile), like most of the center backs for the Timbers, he had an excellent passing grade (72nd percentile) and a solid defensive grade (57th percentile). Additionally, Tuiloma did not attempt a single aerial duel and didn’t record the best carrying grade in just the 39th percentile.

Zac McGraw (CB) - 4.0

While McGraw performed slightly above-average in the two basic categories for center backs (passing and defending), he struggled across multiple minor categories including total actions, aerials, and carrying. Additionally, McGraw also picked up a yellow card in his short time on the field, which definitely didn’t help his grade.

Dairon Asprilla (ST) - 9.1

Despite coming on when the Timbers were already 3-0 down, Asprilla had a great performance and made a strong case for a starting job this week as the Timbers #9. While his pressing was terrible (8th percentile), Asprilla performed fairly well in his half on the field as he ranked in the 65th percentile for his total actions, 74th percentile for his shooting, 55th percentile for his passing, 63rd percentile for his dribbling and the 81st percentile for his aerials. Additionally, Asprilla recorded an assist and two shot assists which had a strong positive impact on his grade.

Marvin Loria () - N/A

Cristhian Paredes () - N/A

These players aren’t graded because I currently do not have a grading system that will fairly evaluate players who have under 20 total actions, compared to the rest of the team, who played most of the game.


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