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Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Three Things To Watch

Friday, October 03, 2014


Photo Credit: rayterrill via Compfight cc

The last time these two teams played, it was quite an offensive showcase. The Portland Timbers had to come from behind in the second half to achieve the tie, despite outshooting the San Jose Earthquakes 32-12.

Portland will look to raise that conversion rate this Saturday, Oct. 4, when they take on San Jose at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Here are things to watch for this Saturday:

1. Play Compact:

On Sept. 7, Portland’s high-pressuring midfield exploited San Jose’s weaker midfield possession game, easily maintaining control in their opponents’ half and outshooting the ‘Quakes by 20 shots. While that possession-oriented game enabled a great deal of Timbers' possession from sideline to sideline, it left them more spread out and susceptible to a highly efficient countering team.

With Chris Wondolowski at the helm and left midfielder Shea Salinas in support, the duo combined for two goals and one assist, portraying a textbook style of finishing on the few goal-scoring opportunities available. By playing compact and defensively oriented, the Timbers midfield can influence San Jose to use the outside flanks more often, helping the Timbers’ backline focus solely on the crossing balls.

2. Utilize the Long Ball:

By playing a compact style of defense, San Jose’s backline will naturally shift forward a bit to help the midfielders and offer a drop ball to reset the offense. With Fanendo Adi’s stature and speed, look for those over-the-top opportunities where Adi can exploit his physicality and hopefully regain his finishing composure.

3. Earn One Point:

In the end, the Timbers do not need three points. The Vancouver Whitecaps sit 2 points ahead before they take on FC Dallas on Oct. 4.

Of course, three points would be ideal, but the Whitecaps have a tougher remaining schedule than Portland, including away games against Seattle and San Jose. Portland can still be one home win away from overtaking that last playoff spot with a tie. Look for Portland to earn yet another tie on the road (don’t worry, that’s a good thing).

Banner Photo Credit: rayterrill via Compfight cc


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