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Game Preview: Who’s Gonna Run this Town Tonight?

9 October 2010 1,812 views No Comment

The 10th of October 2010 only happens once and the Timbers will need to put on one the best performances in Timber history in order to keep their season alive. Less than 15 minutes into the 2010 playoffs we were down 2 goals, urgency and desperation led to a miserable match in Burnaby Thursday night. The first match is over and now it’s all about Merlo. In front of the faithful the defense will have to hold the line, while the offense pours quality shots against that stubborn SOB Nolly.

Vancouver has only lost 5 matches this season and they drew 15. The Whitecraps know how to play for a draw, so the Timbers will have to really push the tempo and make the chances happen. As Ross Smith says “big players, make big plays.” Now is the time for the squad to step up and play at the higher level.

The match at Merlo could go down as another Timbers playoff disappointment or it could be the match that makes everyone call in sick on Monday. A young female hip hop artist once asked the question, “Who’s gonna run this town tonight?”

Couple Bits From Kevin…
- Portland needs to win and win big on Sunday night, but if we’re going to see a massacre at Merlo then the Timbers are going to need to jump all over the Whitecaps right from the opening kickoff .  A 2-0 deficit isn’t insurmountable by any means, but it’ll help Portland out, especially from a mental stand point, to cut into the lead early and get a quick goal. The only problem is that the Timbers have only scored 11 first half goals out of their 34 total goals this season. However, if they can get on the scoreboard first, then things will get pretty interesting, pretty fast.

- Vancouver has one of the top defenses in the league, leading the USSF in fewest goals allowed with 22, and only losing 5 matches all season.  As Paul touched on, the Whitecaps also have 15 draws on the year, showing that they’re a team that knows how to keep a match knotted up.  Vancouver made Game One a ragged and disjointed affair, sagging back and clogging up the box with as many as 6-8 players at a time, and effectively breaking up the Timber’s attack once it got into the final third.  So, how does Portland solve the Whitecaps defensive barricade on Sunday?

- It’s all about the team.  The Timbers will need more than ever to lean on one another and play quality team soccer.  Together they will need to defend as a unit, communicate and stay in sync to avoid anymore costly breakdowns.  They’ll need to trust each other on offense and build attacks as a group by bringing up midfielders and defenders into the final third and playing patiently together to probe the Whitecaps defense, keep their options alive, and get into the box.  A passionate and supportive Timber’s Army urging their team on could help tip the scales as well. As cliche as it might sound, if the Timbers win this series it’ll be because of a true team effort.

Pictures courtesy of Allison Andrews SCUSA

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Posted by paulsepp

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