KeyBank Match-up: Diego Valeri vs. Osvaldo Alonso
|MLS Goal of the Week: Week 1||2012 MLS Best XI|
|Leads MLS in shots (12)||10 ball recoveries vs. Tigres UANL|
|Smooth playmaker, Classic #10||Wrecking ball defense in central midfield|
|vs. MTL: 69%||
Pass Completion Percentage
|vs. Tigres UANL: 78%|
|3 Key Passes vs. MTL (passes leading to a shot)||6 Interceptions vs. Tigres UANL|
The Cascadia Cup rivalry is once again renewed in Seattle as the Portland Timbers travel north to take on the Sounders (5pm PT, NBC Sports Network, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940). Leading the charge for the Timbers is Argentine playmaker Diego Valeri. Smooth in his MLS debut at JELD-WEN Field, Valeri will come up against the formidable holding central midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. Alonso is a master at breaking up plays in the midfield, flying energetically all over the pitch, and carving the ball away from opponents with surgeon-like precision followed by expert distribution back into attack. Valeri will to take his quicksilver abilities on the ball to continue to push the ball up high and either play out the key pass to fellow attackers Darlington Nagbe and Ryan Johnson or take a crack at goal himself.
They said it:
"Obviously, we're well aware of Alonso. He's one of the best defensive midfielders in the league. He's a dominant player in their team. Not only does he break up plays and win balls, but he's on the ball a lot and is a big part of the rhythm and tempo. We've prepared for that this week.
Valeri is one of our key guys. He needs to get loose, get the ball. He needs to be one of our guys that's creating chances. That was a big focus of our training this week was making sure we stop Alonso but also that we get Valeri freed up."
-Caleb Porter, Timbers head coach