Before tomorrow’s I-5 Derby kicks off down in Portland, take a look at the average positions for both sides in their latest MLS matches (Sporting Kansas City for Seattle and LA Galaxy for Portland). The maps show Seattle’s ability to hold shape throughout the match, while Portland’s show a tight central midfield to say the least.
Take a look for yourself.
Seattle Sounders vs Sporting Kansas City
As you can see here with the Sounders last match position map, Seattle held it’s diamond midfield shape well with the exception of RM Brad Evans who was was higher up than any Sounders fan likes to see. If Seattle is to stay with the diamond shape against Portland, the RM needs to stay back and tuck in more, especially in the narrow confines of Jeld-Wen.
Other areas to note on the map are how deep the two forwards are. Fredy Montero is becoming a fantastic and skilled withdrawn forward, but Eddie Johnson needs to be just outside the 18 to be most effective. On the defensive side we see that all four defenders hold a great shape and spacing although Zach Scott is a little higher than I would like for a non-attacking RB.
Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy
As far as the Timers position map goes… well it’s a mess to say the least. Starting at the back the two CB are in a good position with decent spacing, but the wings are far too advanced for a side with inexperience at the back. If Portland’s right and left backs venture up the field again expect quick and effective counterattacking from Seattle.
Like the Sounders, the Timbers played a diamond midfield against LA, but this diamond doesn’t look like it’d shine very bright. Chara’s position is ideal for a CDM, but Alhassan has moved far too right and Songo’o is pinched in so far that he looks like a CM. Portland’s CAM, Nagbe, is placed good, but the young forward Mwanga is on top of Nagbe making the midfield small, pinched and useless.
If portland is unable to speared out the midfield, get the second forward away from the CAM and keep the two outside backs in a defensive position Seattle should have a heyday attacking while being somewhat protected from counter attacks since the Portland miss are so tight.
Seattle/Portland maps overlapped. Seattle is in the cyan.
Finally here are the two maps placed on top of each other to show just how tight Portland is playing and how much room the Seattle forwards will have, especially if good through ball can be played from the midfield. The concern for Seattle will be making sure the CB pairing stays back, communicates and is tight. They will also need more support from Alonso or whoever takes the CDM slot to break up the Portland midfield mess. Lastly don’t expect a lot of Seattle fullback movement as they will need to focus on helping out with Boyd.
Remember kickoff is at 2 p.m. tomorrow on ESPN, ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN App