Earlier this week we participated in a Q&A with Chris Gluck of the Possession With Purpose, a blog about the Portland Timbers provided by the Portland newspaper The Columbian. You can read our responses to Chris's question's here.
For information about the Timbers, read on!
The Goat Parade: Given the time off after a tough stretch at the end of August, did you notice any tactical tweaks or changes in the Toronto match?
1. The return of Diego Chara and Will Johnson to the center of the midfield has tremendous positive impact on the players who surround them. The chemistry of the players and pace with which the ball moves is tighter and more refined.
This isn't a negative reflection on other players who have stepped up during injuries and suspensions but more a positive reflection on that extra edge/bite that comes with having Diego and Will working in tandem. So for tactical tweaks or changes I would offer that with those two returning it afforded Caleb the opportunity to work within a one-pivot midfield defensive scheme or a two-pivot defensive scheme at any time during the game.
2. As for strikers; Valencia has been slowly getting more minutes over the last month or so and the Toronto match was his first opportunity to get a full 90 minutes. And while he didn't have 'extra action' throughout the complete 90 minutes he did get a better handle on managing a full 90 minutes.
And with Valencia he offers somewhat of a different skill set than Piquionne or Johnson and the more flexibility Caleb Porter has in offering different skill sets in attack the harder it is to defend against them.
GP:Rodney Wallace has really found his niche with the Timbers this year. Why do think he’s had such a remarkable run of form in 2013?
CG: For me Rodney is not doing anything that he wasn't already capable of doing last year - Caleb Porter has recognized the athleticism and foot skills Rodney brings to the pitch, along with speed and vision, that he has always had. Even before this season began I officially labeled Rodney as a "diamond in the rough" for Portland - so the 'niche' you refer to, for me, is more down to Caleb knowing and understanding what value a player brings to the pitch better than John Spencer or Gavin Wilkinson... As for remarkable form; he's always had it just never had the right guy to leverage is form in the right area of the pitch.
GP:How important are Will Johnson and Diego Valeri to this Timbers team? Is it worth risking their health to play 90 minutes against two would-be relegated teams (i.e. Toronto FC and Chivas USA)?
CG: I think I may have helped answer the question on Will Johnson above but will offer a few more thoughts for consideration... Will is a leader; both on and off the pitch - anytime a leader is missing on the pitch it can impact teammates. That's not to say the other players are rudderless without Will but his presence brings a nuance that tweaks the mentality of others around him to a higher level.
Thank you so much, Chris!
What do you think? Leave your comments and suggestions below!