|Turf + contact + head = ouch. Very ouch.
In Kelly's comments after the match, he indicated that they allowed Asad to rejoin once the fourth official confirmed he had been medically cleared by Atlanta. However, the Timbers' team doctor seemed to be very upset at their conclusion. There were also several reports that indicated that Asad insisted he was fine and determined to continue playing, and as we've seen in sports many times before, sometimes players are not the best judges for their safety - putting toughing it out in 1 match over looking at long term health. For those that know, I was struck a few weeks ago during practice for Old Growth FC by a shoulder, and the contact put me down on the turf with my head bouncing off of it. While not completely similar, I was happy that I had a coach and several medical trained personnel look at the situation and my injuries and made it clear there was no way I could continue. Granted, I had a large gash on my forehead which likely precluded my further precipitation anyway, which Asad didn't have, but I also never lost consciousness. I did discover how distasteful turf pellets can be, as they are not part of a balanced diet, nor should they ever be.
|Please, Diego, can we see more of this?
I'm really glad to see Diego Valeri's comments about wanting the Timbers to dictate more tempo and control more possession, especially after the disturbing possession numbers posted versus Atlanta United. We have heard the mantra of the Timbers in the Caleb Porter era as possession with purpose, although the team has certainly adjusted their attack in various matches and stretches depending upon personnel availability and opponent, but I don't think 30 percent possession is even close to the ideal in any situation. I get it, it's a number and soccer has one of those completely annoying qualities where numbers often don't match the reality of a result. However, this is the second consecutive match where I thought the Timbers' passive approach cost them dearly. I can understand some concern with Atlanta, since they have as much speed and attacking options as the Timbers so being slightly more conservative and playing further back makes sense, but San Jose isn't even in the same conversation with attacking as either Portland or Atlanta. The Earthquakes played a very unlike them match a few weeks ago where they used attacking and movement to break down the Timbers, as many experts remarked. Portland played into that, however, with very passive play, and I understand the club didn't have Valeri or Darlington Nagbe available. Honestly, I want this team to play Timbers style soccer regardless of who is on the pitch, and that is very difficult if the team lacks a coordinator or playmaker, but Porter has said this roster has options. With players leaving for international duty, potential injury or just rotation in general, it's imperative they figure this out soon.
|Dairon - I love you, but wow, Sunday wasn't good for you.
Evaluations - Everyone wearing Timbers green would get a 5 on the afternoon, considering that they have good efforts at points in the attack but had a few mistakes to even things out. I will call out a few players who deserve differing scores.
Alvas Powell - 3. Seriously, I have no idea what he was doing out there at times. Passes to nobody in particular, late support on certain runs, he just seemed to be playing a different game. He did have several good clearances to stop threats, but there was so much more he could have done, but didn't.
Roy Miller - 7. He's played exceptionally well this season in the rotation, and his size and presence were a big asset against Atlanta. Based on this effort, I can see this team using a Ridgewell - Miller center back duo and not feel like it's a problem.
Diego Valeri - 3. Little to no influence on the match. I get that he's trying to work back to fitness and timing and Atlanta made it a priority to defend him, but I was hoping to see more from the Maestro.
Sebastian Blanco - 6. Always has some bite to his play, and I thought he actually mixed it up with Atlanta quite a lot and it was appreciated. You can either take the physical approach or the speed approach to counter speed, and Blanco used both effectively.
Fanendo Adi - 4. I thought he needed to be more patient on several runs to allow them to open up, but he insisted upon trying to draw the foul with physical contact. Honestly, Alan Kelly is an official that doesn't call contact consistently, and Adi was often whistled. He's a huge player and I don't think gets the benefit of certain calls, but at the same point, you have to be effective in your influence and Adi wasn't effective enough in my opinion.
Dairon Asprilla - 2. If he only had a consistent first touch, the Timbers likely could have spent far more time attacking. I lost track at how many times he dribbled the ball away or overran a pass. I know he is skillful, but this match really didn't display it at all.