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When I heard about this tournament, I was looking forward to the opportunity for the Timbers to compete in another format and see other teams outside of the league. I'd like to have seen the Timbers go further, but it would have been tough whether they were playing well or not. Kudos to Monterrey for getting as far as they did under the circumstances. I'd really like that team except for the bleep-hat who knocked D. Chara in the back of the head. I did enjoy them coming back to beat LAFC, though. If there is anything LAFC is lacking it's a ball winner in the midfield, and we have that in Paredes. He's got the quickest feet in the West. So, the tournament was cool in that they competed well against two of the top teams in Mexico, and in some ways really took it to them but the achilles heel is not so much the defense, but the lack of offense. It's tough to beat quality teams without good wing play, either scoring or providing service, and Loria and Asprilla just aren't up to snuff as starters. Because of this, the Timbers will always be in games because they are pretty good elsewhere, but the lack of offense means they do not strike fear into opposing defenses. That would change if Yimmi (who doesn't really strike fear in opposing defenses but is much better than Loria and somewhat better than Asprilla) starts, and other winger x (Antony, maybe) starts and provides some vertical threats and or good service production.

I went off the r ails on Evander early, but I stand by what I was saying, basically, and that is, he's not a 10. He's going to be or already is a really good 8. If he is able to provide offensive production from a deeper position, then perhaps he is worth the 10 million price tag. We'll see. But, it's problematic, because it forced Paredes into a weird role, sometimes playing higher, and that works sometimes, but it also shows his limitations in the final third. Maybe I am seeing it wrong. I think Gio is settling more into a 4-3-3 with Paredes and Evander as 8s and D Chara as a 6. With DC out on yellow card accumulation, I'd like to see Paredes take over DC's role and move Moreno as an 8 alongside Evander. I think the Timbers would own the midfield.

As far as the playoff push goes, I think the schedule looks actually pretty tough. As much as the Timbers look like a formidable squad, too much has gone wrong this year to really anticipate run, although, I wouldn't be surprised to see one, either. They have the potential to smother teams; they just don't know how to finish them off. I hope they can get hot.

I really appreciate how Miami plays now. It looks like Barcelona of old. They keep it and probe. Only a select few (Busquets, Messi and Alba) seem like they are authorized to hit a long ball, and it results in a structured and organized game plan that can be followed. I'm pulling for them in the Leagues Cup. I was hoping for their opponent to be Monterrey, but it looked like they ran out of gas vs Nashville.

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"Portland...mounts yet another late season surge up the table."

Sigh. I am so sick of this having to be a thing.

Don't get me wrong - I'm glad they played well against Liga MX teams, but I do wonder how the rust of two-plus weeks off will affect them. Hopefully they can pick up more or less where they left off, but I'm also not counting on it. We'll see if the defense has decided that they can defend for 90 min a game - if they have, this could be a fun end of the season, but if not, buckle up.

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I really do think this team needs to go to a 3 back system. We played good soccer and actually went on a win streak playing 3 at the back last year. And that was with mabiala. If it were me. Seeing as antony and Acosta probably won't start yet.

Boli

Evander Moreno

Bravo Paredes yimmi masquera

Mcgraw zuparic Araujo

Ivacic

I really do think yimmi should be in the midfield. He has good work ethic. decent distribution, and good defense. He would be good at hustling back on counter attacks and transitioning quick into attack.

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Bryan Acosta will likely see time if not start this weekend. DC is (finally) getting a well-deserved rest due to yellow card accumulation. I was hoping to see a Timber produce an absence-free season, and how great would that have been to see Diego do that!

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I like the patience Gio has shown bringing in the newly acquired players slowly, Boli and Araujo. I would also like to see how Araujo does with a start. It seems like we went from good depth to the cupboards bare to some good depth again. No pressure on Acosta, just fill in when needed. I like Antony from the highlights as he does something other Timbers don’t do except Boli. He makes runs in behind. I’m real curious to watch him.

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It’ll be fascinating to see how the Timbers play coming out of leagues cup, where they played their best games of the year. Was that a fluke with the team just extra motivated for a tournament while playing at home against teams traveling a lot, or is this the type of play they can maintain? Who knows. If the team as well as they did in LC then we’re looking at a playoff team folks. For now, it’s best we stick with what’s working, and that’s the 4-3-3, and I’m fairly certain Gio will stick with that. Moreno is out this weekend with that nagging ankle injury, McGraw is questionable for an illness, Loria is having a baby, and Chara is out with YC accumulation. I expect Araujo to get his first start (which I am VERY much looking forward too, we haven’t seen much of him), I expect Acosta to start at the 6, and I expect Yimmi to start on the wing, as it’s been long enough so he should be recovered from his injury. If the 4-3-3 stops working I’d love to see us try a 3 at the back formation as others have suggested to allow Moreno to play more centrally, Araujo on the field, Mosquera higher up, and Evander sitting higher where I think he’s best at.

I’m very happy we went out into the MLS market to get a player, our team desperately needs MLS experience. I don’t know how good Acosta will be, Dallas and Colorado fans seemed to have lukewarm opinions of him at best, but that’s probably because he was originally a DP. But it’s a deal until the end of the year with an option, so if he sucks then it’s no real harm caused. Great piece of business from Ned imo. Antony will be interesting, his highlights haven’t quite done it for me, but he’s the type of player that I feel we’ve been missing. We don’t have a winger who is speedy and will run at players, put them on their back foot, and go directly to goal. Asprilla is the closest we have to that but he doesn’t have that ability anymore. I’m not in love with the signing but right now I’ll choose to be cautiously optimistic. I don’t, however, expect him to play much of a factor at all this year. Being so young and coming late in the transfer window, I think he’ll get a few minutes off the bench and maybe a start if we really need it, much like Mosquera last year. I hope I’m wrong though, I’d love to see him get plenty of minutes

This Leagues Cup break has given the Timbers a chance to restart their season. Play well now and we can make the playoffs

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I'm hoping the addition of Bryan Acosta to the midfield will really help out the depth concerns we have there. Running Chara and Paredes into the ground isn't the best strategy going forward. I don't know much about him, so I hope someone can provide more context for his play.

I'm not optimistic that Antony will be able to provide much of a spark this year. I seem to recall looking at some "highlights" and just didn't see much that makes me think he will be a real spark for the team. I'm hoping he is on the Ayala track where he gets some minutes and give us solid play on the wing, potentially becoming solid depth next year.

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