Player Grades for Timbers vs. Minnesota United:
On Saturday, the Portland Timbers drew 4-4 against Minnesota United in a very entertaining and back-and-forth game. While there was a lot of creative and good offensive play, both defenses were not very good, hence the eight total goals scored in the match.
Here’s my breakdown of how the Timbers’ players performed as they remained in the seventh position in the Western Conference.
Aljaz Ivacic (GK) - 1.6
While I disagree with this rating of Ivacic based on the fact that most of the goals that he conceded appeared to be difficult to save, this grading system is supposed to be unbiased and purely statistical based so I will attempt to explain his rating as concisely as possible. The Slovenian’s passing actually wasn’t that poor as he completed 14 of 17 passes, including five of six long balls, which landed him 44th percentile amongst goalkeepers. However, the major issue with Ivacic’s grade comes from his goalkeeping grade, as all three sites that I use for computing expected conceded goals had Ivacic’s grade around the bottom 15th percentile for goalkeepers. Basically, the sites would have expected Ivacic to save at least one of the four goals that Minnesota scored, and because one goal is fairly significant in a typical game, that really hurts Ivacic’s grade here.
Timbers backline trends:
Josecarlos Van Rankin (RB) - 5.9
Van Rankin had an average performance against Minnesota, as some of his categories were above the 50th percentile and others below. Specifically, the Mexican ranked in the 63rd percentile for his total actions. 56th percentile for his passing, 35th percentile for his playmaking, 42nd percentile for his defending, and the 48th percentile for his dribbling. As you can see, most of Van Rankin’s statistics oscillated around the 50th percentile and his contributions to the attack in the final third elevated his grade to above-average.
Dario Zuparic (CB) - 3.9
After nine performances of Portland allowing two goals or less, and with most of those games coming from the partnership of Zuparic and Mabiala, Minnesota United found a way to exploit the Timbers’ weaknesses and found the net four times. As you can imagine, the performances from both of these centerbacks weren’t that great, as Zuparic had above-average performances in just two out of five possible categories (his aerial and total actions grades) and both contained the lowest weight. Highlighting the other major categories, Zuparic ranked in just the 26th percentile for his passing, 34th percentile for his defending, and only the 18th percentile for his carrying grade.
Larrys Mabiala (CB) - 3.9
While Zuparic had decent performances in some minor categories and really struggled in some major areas of his game, Mabiala had an all-around below-average performance. The Congolese international ranked in the 33rd percentile for his total actions grade, 48th percentile for his passing, 25th percentile for his aerials, 46th percentile for his defending, and 32nd percentile for his carrying grade.
Claudio Bravo (LB) - 7.8
Bravo had another solid and consistent performance across the board and he performed especially well in his total actions (64th percentile) and passing (72nd percentile) grades. The Argentine also ranked above the 50th percentile for all of his major categories, such as his playmaking, dribbling, and defensive grades. Moreover, Bravo’s contributions in the final third also helped out his grade as he recorded one shot assists, two shot-creating actions, and one goal-creating action.
Diego Chara (CDM) - 4.2
Diego did not have a great game against Minnesota, which could be partially due to the fact that he picked up an early yellow card, which could have limited his ability to go in for duels to recover the ball for the Timbers. Additionally, Diego ranked in just the 35th percentile for his total actions, which implies that he wasn’t as involved as he typically is in matches. This influenced Diego’s overall performance as the Colombian ranked in the 51st percentile for his passing, 38th percentile for his defending, and 48th percentile for his offensive grade. Chara’s lack of total actions could also be a sign of fatigue and with his yellow card accumulation taking him out of the game against Nashville, hopefully Chara can revert back to his normal self against Dallas on Saturday.
David Ayala (CDM) - 5.7
As a whole, Ayala’s performance wasn’t that great as he only ranked above-average in one of his major categories, that being his passing (63rd percentile), but he did add some contributions for the Timbers in the final third as he landed his lone shot on target and recorded two shot assists. As for his other categories, Ayala ranked in the 43rd percentile for his total actions, 39th percentile for his defensive grade, and the 46th percentile for his offensive grade.
Timbers frontline trends:
Sebastian Blanco (CAM) - 9.6
Blanco had a well-rounded performance against Minnesota and was very lethal in the final third, scoring two of his five shooting opportunities. Apart from his passing, Blanco also ranked above-average for all of his major categories, including his total actions, dribbling, pressing, playmaking, and offensive grade. Hopefully, he can replicate this performance against Nashville, because when Blanco is on the Timbers are a very difficult team to defeat.
Santiago Moreno (Winger) - 8.4
While Moreno didn’t do too much in the dribbling and pressing departments (he ranked around the 45th percentile for both), he had a pretty good performance and performed especially well in some key categories while also recording an assist. The Colombian ranked in the 76th percentile for total actions, 81st percentile for his passing, and 72nd percentile for his playmaking grade. As you can see, Moreno had a pretty good passing performance and it was topped off by his assist. If Moreno can keep stringing together these performances, this Timbers attack is going to be very difficult to neutralize come playoff time.
Jaroslaw Niezgoda (ST) - 9.0
Niezgoda had possibly his most consistent performance all season for the Timbers, as he ranked around the 50th percentile for four of his six categories to go with scoring a goal and recording an assist. To be specific, the Pole ranked in the 53rd percentile for his total actions, 48th percentile for his shooting, 56th percentile for his passing, 52nd percentile for his dribbling, and 40th percentile for his pressing. Niezgoda didn’t offer much of an aerial threat as he ranked in the 27th percentile for that category, but he also didn’t really need to, as the Timbers found success through the strong passing ability of the supporting attacking cast (Blanco, Yimmi, and Santi). Niezgoda has scored in four of his last five games, so hopefully he can continue this solid run of performances at home against Nashville.
Yimmi Chara (Winger) - 5.3
Saturday was another typical up and down performance from Yimmi, as the Colombian ranked pretty well in some categories but struggled in others. Like Moreno, Yimmi posted solid passing and playmaking numbers (72nd and 53rd percentile, respectively), but he also landed in the 32nd percentile for his dribbling and the 27th percentile for his defensive grade. It’s this type of inconsistency from Yimmi which has separated him from other key pieces in the Timbers attack, namely Moreno and Blanco. Hopefully, Yimmi can resolve these issues and put together a complete performance against Nashville.
Dairon Asprilla () - N/A
Marvin Loria () - N/A
Felipe Mora () - 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.