I went to the preseason Cascadia Summit match between the Sounders and the Timbers last night. Thank you to Calissa for accompanying me. I’m really anticipating the season, although unfortunately I won’t make the opener versus the Galaxy on the 15th. Would have been nice to see all three of Juan Pablo Angel, David Beckham, and Landon Donovan.
The match last night? No so pretty. My impression from the stands was that the Sounders have not improved on their problems from last year.
- Passing. The Sounders couldn’t pass to save their lives. Even simple passes kept being sent too far in front of or too far behind their intended recipients. Long passes were invariably intercepted. That might be the result of playing on a small pitch where there isn’t a lot of separation in space. However, the Timbers got some long passes in just fine. Short passes were often directly to the feet of the Timbers. I think the longest passing sequence was maybe 6 or 7 touches.
- Ball control. Also awful. When passes were on target, the recipient couldn’t control it, a Timber would swoop in and take it away. When our center backs knocks balls in the air down, the ball wouldn’t fall to us. They couldn’t get it out of the final third, and they couldn’t get it to a Sounder.
- Finishing. The shots taken were rarely on frame unless they were softly hit. Fernandez somehow managed to take a shot from 4 yards out that went 10 feet over the top of the goal. There had already been a foul called, so it wouldn’t have counted. You can have a shot defended from that range, but you really shouldn’t miss over the top. I’m a big fan of testing the keeper. If you don’t have an open shot, hit it hard on frame and make the keeper work. Then someone can swoop in and get rebound shots or get a corner. We had a lot of corner kicks in the match, but not from saved shots.
On the plus side, our defense was actually pretty good despite giving up two goals. Portland’s Kenny Cooper looks really pretty good, but Parke and Hurtado were up to the task. Alonso was a hustling monster as always. Montero worked his butt off too. That’s an improvement over his first year or so when he didn’t always keep playing when he lost the ball.
I have tickets to the Whitecaps match on Sunday. I’m looking forward to that. The games are fun even when we don’t play well. (Well, except for that Galaxy game last year where the Sounders just gave up.)
Opinions and analysis are the product of armchair coaching by an unqualified amateur. This is worth exactly how much you paid for it.