The 3252 Breakdown - Portland
Only the second game all season in which we have been held scoreless, and of course the first time at home. Let’s breakdown the game and hopefully learn from a few things before we play again on Wednesday!
3 THINGS THAT WENT WELL AGAINIST PORTLAND
1.Timely tackles when Portland went on the break. There were many points throughout the game in which the Timbers were breaking and finding gaps through our defensive line. But on more than multiple occasions, our defenders found the perfect tackle or toe poke in order to throw them off. Only a couple of challenges ended up being free kicks for Portland, showing you how well LAFC was defending during the game.
2.Took more shots in the second half, creating pressure on the Timber’s goalie. Bob Bradley must have drilled it into the players mind that we needed to shots more in order to score. It was pretty night and day compared to the first half, as we took more than double the shots on goal in the second. We never really challenged Portland’s keeper, but we had an aggressive edge to our second half strategy.
3.Created the second most corner kicks for the season, only behind the draw to New York City FC at home. You can’t create corner kicks unless you have pressure in the final third! It was just a shame that we could not put the ball on target with all of those corners. Maybe it’s time to find a new strategy.
2 THINGS WE NEED TO WORK ON
1.We need to become more creative in the attacking third of the field. There were too many points, particularly in the second half, in which we just passed the ball to Dio in order for him to have a shot on goal. I can understand it since he has the hottest foot in the MLS right now, but Portland just kept on crashing onto him, not allowing him an extra foot or two. There were a couple of options in the middle of the second half in which we had more players wide open on the opposite side of Dio, but we just kept on passing to Dio. If we become too predictable, we will never be able to score as fluid as we have in the last two months.
2.LAFC was way too sloppy when it came to passing. We missed so many great chances at having an open run towards goal or clearing the ball from our defensive third. We never looked in sync when it came to running towards the ball, passing the ball towards open space, or making passes right to Portland. One of the poorest games this season when it comes to passing completion for our boys in Black and Gold.
5 KEY MOMENTS
1.Before kickoff, the heat. I was not at this game, as I was watching it from Santa Barbara, but ESPN made a point to say that it was hot in Los Angeles. I have no idea as to why we have had some many games already in the hot sun, but it really ruins our flow. We looked slow and did not nearly have as many great runs as usually. Hopefully the front office of LAFC makes a fuss to MLS this offseason, allowing us to have more evening/night games.
2.Miller’s point blank save in the 5th minute. I don’t have a single idea what Benny Feilhaber is trying to do with the ball right in front of goal, but it didn’t work at all and Portland were pretty much gifted a goal. Miller had a great reaction in order to direct the ball clear of the net and allow the score to stay level.
3.Joao’s Moutinho chip towards Dio right at the 30th minute. This must have been a training group exercise, because it was the first time I have ever seen LAFC do this in a live action game. Moutinho flicks a perfect ball into the box and Dio recreates his steps in order to put in the best chance on goal. Portland keeper makes a really good save; and once again, we stay on level terms.
4.Portland’s chance in the 49th minute that went off the post. I like the symmetrical idea that the number 99 player for both LAFC and Portland are strong and powerful, but I didn’t like to see Portland’s 99, Armenteros, have a clear shot at goal only to go off the far post. Zimmerman didn’t close down fast enough on Armenteros, and he was easily able to get a shot off past Miller’s outstretched arm. The Black and Gold were lucky not to have this one sneak into the net.
5.Lee Nguyen’s red card. What a dumb red card. During live action, I thought the Portland player, Blanco, was pulling a Neymar and embellishing the act of the tackle. Right after the red card as issued, I was confused beyond belief. But once ESPN showed the replay of the tackle, it was pretty clear without a shadow of a doubt, that Nguyen deserved a straight red. He’ll be able to play on Wednesday night, but hopefully Andre Horta will be ready come next weekend, because we need a new midfielder.
2 PLAYERS OF THE MATCH
1.Tyler Miller. Saved the game a few times today, allowing him to be one of my top two players 2 weeks in a row. Miller is gaining confidence, which will hopefully allow him to grow massively before the playoffs start. Still not 100% on him, but this week is starting to have me lean towards allowing him to start the rest of the season.
2.Mark-Anthony Kaye. He might not show up on the score sheet or might not have seemed flashy on the pitch for the full 90, but he was a solid presence throughout the game. Had the second most tackles for the game and created a few chances on goal. Kaye is becoming a solid midfielder for our team, and I’m really looking forward to what he does as the season moves along.
Hopefully the Los Angeles Football Club can rest up for the next couple of days before our big match against Portland again this week. The quarterfinal of any tournament is nothing to sneeze at, so I will be rooting hard again this week! Until then, stay golden!
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