Finn’s Five: DON’T PANIC

An entirely new team from Sunday took the field for the Timbers and frankly it showed in a choppy, disjointed loss.

1) The System – Porters intense, ball control system that had us all buzzing from Sunday was nowhere to be seen last night. Our reserves either couldn’t or wouldn’t put it into practice. Worrying but it’s early days.

2) Trencito – Porter singled him out for praise and rightfully so. It’s not just the work he does on the ball. His dedication to high up the field defensive pressure deserves recognition.

3) Mwanga – Oh Danny. Boy, I want him to succeed but last night he was very poor. Weak on the ball and lazy in defense. Look at the goal again. Danny could have and should have closed Perez down.

4) The midfield pairing of Wallace and Zemanski – No thanks. Nuff said.

5) The Zizzo right back experiment – Intrigued. Would like to see more of it. We know he can run the channel with the best of them, the question is can he defend?

10 thoughts on “Finn’s Five: DON’T PANIC

  1. Spot on.

    Porter singled out Zemanski as one who will be good when he gets his legs. He didn’t mention Wallace. Yikes.

  2. Echoed most all of my sentiments as well Finn. My biggest observation related to The System was “what happens if Valeri goes out with injury or other?”. I was comparing what I saw not so much to the Sunday game, but what I observed in Tucson and the lack of control in the center of the field was what I felt changed the most. MLS is a rough league and Valeri is going to get his knocks. I don’t see a need for panic, but I would be rather concerned if Valeri was not available.

    I too want Danny to succeed more than anything, but I’m just not seeing it.

    1. My guess is that if Valeri gets injured, Alhassan will take his place and someone like Valencia will go into the right midfield/right wing spot. In my opinion, Alhassan is the closest thing we have to a playmaker, aside from Valeri. He’s done well in preseason in the CAM role and played well against Seattle in a reserves game last year.

  3. Solid analysis, Jeremy. If you included a post scriptum I’d mention that Futty looked reliable if not solid, and that DTG’s handle and distribution continues to impress.

  4. Zizzo showed a poor (at least for now) sense of where to be on the field as the RB. Yeah, good runs, but he was playing more like a wingback than attacking RB, and it allowed Dallas to get behind him quite a bit (and say what you want about Harrington’s tendency to let folks behind, but he can both catch them and then defend – Zizzo has the catching up part down, just not the subsequent defending). I’m skeptical of this one until he learns more defensive discipline. Understandable, given where and how he normally plays, but still.

    If Valeri gets injured, I would suggest that Porter either drop Nagbe or Alhassan in as the CAM (Nanchoff and Mwanga just don’t have the skills), or, barring that, modify the system and tell Alhassan and Nagbe to both become playmakers who cut in from the wings – and drop Mwanga in that spot not as a playmaker, but a VERY deep-lying forward. Yeah, he’s got to pick up his work rate if he wants to see playing time, but freeing him up from distribution and playmaking duties will, IMO, help him out a lot. He looks like a deep-lying striker, almost like the second person in a 4-4-1-1 with high wingers, or in a 4-2-3-1 with two central strikers and no #10. And if that doesn’t work, I have no idea what to do with him besides sell him. Sorry, dude. I watched you at OSU and you were great, but you’re just not showing much for the Timbers.

  5. Great assessment; more thoughts.

    1) Piquionne looked good and seemed like he’d make a good addition to the line or at least a solid sub. Impressive given he’d walked on from a plane and was playing with strangers in a strange land. Please sign him.
    2) I’ll take Jake’s performance this game over anything I’ve seen from Ricketts so far. He seemed to be very confident and in control. Are you listening, Caleb?
    3) Just bringing back Songo’o would take care of the concerns above about life with an injured Valeri. No, wait, that would require the FO to eat some crow or admit to a judgment lapse.
    4) I thought Futty looked better than you’re giving him credit for. He cleared out a ton of balls.
    4) Overall, when I saw the lineup, I didn’t expect more than we got, as there really were no 3 adjacent positions where you expected them to complete a multi-pass run or strong possession. I’m guessing that Caleb was looking at individual energy, creativity, vision and intensity. They so didn’t attack the ball – that was more striking than the fact that most passes went to someone’s feet, but the passer forgot to look up to see if the player has a green jersey on.
    All in all, it was an instructive and not disappointing match and told CP what he needed to know. I didn’t walk out at all disappointed, as it was clear what was up. Just don’t start more than 2 of these guys…Zizzo and Jake. And #17 (Nanchoff) wailed, Zemanski did not. Who knew?

  6. Piquionne did look good. I hope we decide to take him. Mawanga needs to go along with Ryan Kawulok. Zizzo should never play at the back again. He looked horrendous. Futty looked really solid in defence. Wallace stood out for me. When he’s playing higher up the field he makesd things happen. Who was the #14 at mid? Thought he was terrible.

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