KeyBank Match-Up of the Match: Timbers Midfield vs. David Ferreira
Though last Thursday’s inaugural MLS home opener will be remembered for many memorable moments, chief among them was Colombian forward Jorge Perlaza igniting the offense with two goals.
With the team brimming with confidence and set to take on FC Dallas at JELD-WEN Field on Sunday (broadcast info), they’ll run straight into one of Perlaza’s countrymen in the reigning MLS MVP David Ferreira.
A midfielder, Ferreira is the fulcrum to Dallas’ attack. In 2010, he was involved in 51% of the Hoops 41 goals on the season. His pace on the ball, smooth ability to distribute it across the field, and constant threat to put it in the back of the net makes for a potent threat. How the Timbers midfield is able to handle this attacking menace is Robbie Earle's KeyBank Match-up of The Match.
KeyBank Match-up of the Match
Under head coach Schellas Hyndman, the Hoops employ a 4-1-4-1 formation with Ferreira in the center of the midfield floating just below the lone striker. His ability to move the ball upfield as well as make slicing runs into the 18-yard box translates into a hard-to-track threat.
The Timbers midfield expertly controlled possession against Chicago last Thursday with Kalif Alhassan and Jeremy Hall on the wings both making dangerous sprints on the wing as well as laying off excellent through balls into attack. Witness Alhassan’s perfectly placed pass to Perlaza to set up the striker’s first goal. They were able to do this in part due to Jack Jewsbury and James Marcelin controlling much of the traffic through the middle.
With Ferreira’s ability to roam, the Timbers midfield as a unit will need to effectively neutralize his playmaking ability. If Jewsbury and company can hold possession and continue to press into the attacking third linking with Perlaza and Kenny Cooper, they’ll keep Dallas pinned back and, theoretically, shut down Ferreira. Timbers head coach John Spencer’s attack-focused 4-4-2 depends on constant ball movement. If executed effectively in the midfield, then the fewer times Ferreira is allowed to touch the ball and the better chance Portland has in defusing his MVP abilities.