Gluck: Focus on the present – @Timbersfc v @FCDallas

Many times in a head coaching career you’re confronted with situations beyond your control – as in players will be injured or missing and those issues have nothing to do with you or your coaching staff.

As such, you make do with the best you have and hope that ‘consistency of previous purpose’ takes over.

I’m hopeful we see this as Portland hosts FC Dallas at Providence Park this weekend.

For me ‘previous purpose’ means:

  • Defense First – In the last three years FC Dallas have had the greatest efficiency in G/FTP (goals scored per final third pass offered); 1st in 2014, 2015, and 9th in 2016.
  • Bottom line up front:  It’s absolutely critical the Timbers midfield support the back four in preventing such an effective and efficient attacking team like Dallas.

If there’s a professional soccer team in MLS that matches the best style and tactics of the US Men’s National Team it’s FC Dallas.

When looking to replace Bruce Arena after World Cup 2018 look no further than Oscar Pareja.

This game is as much a match of players on the pitch as it is coaches on the sideline.

Caleb Porter needs to be at his best in game management.

Stray voltage:

Amobi Okugo or Lawrence Olum?  I’m not sure it matters – both have showed well in my view and both have showed well with their previous teams – I like both these players.

If the game opens up – which I hope it doesn’t – might this be an opportunity for Victor Arboleda or Jeremy Ebobisse?

Alvas Powell – healthy discussion on twitter this past week.  Many viewpoints – none ‘wrong’… what we do know is he doesn’t provide leadership.

If you’re a manager that usually means he’s not a good follower either.

  • That may be harsh – but in today’s environment 95% of the game is mental; being a good follower is critical to being a good leader and vice versa.
  • A loan spell with another team (like what the Timbers have done with Lucas Melano) may do him some good… .otherwise my sensing is his time as a starter has come and gone.

Liam Ridgewell – publicly criticizing his leadership was worthy.  Cynical play undermines leadership in so many ways.  Last week Ridgewell, by most accounts, pulled his socks up and led from the back.  He must repeat that effort every single game; there is no choice – he is the Captain.

Bottom line at the bottom:

The psychological ‘must win’ atmosphere is diminished (for now at least).

There are no excuses a team can’t win because players being absent.

It’s a squad – if you build a good squad absences only mean a slightly different tweak in tactics to maximize other players strengths not normally relied on.

For this weekend a great result is three points – a good result is one point.  The atmosphere of a ‘must win home game’ will rear its ugly head again if things go pear-shaped.

Defense first – worth repeating because a clean sheet is critical when two of your best midfielders are missing.

Portland Timbers take on FC Dallas:  Saturday, June 10th – Providence Park 7:30 PM

Broadcast KPTX

Best, Chris

@chrisgluckpwp

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