Portland v Dallas: Youth v Experience

PORvDAL Image: FCdallas.com

Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas – Youth vs. Experience

As the Major League Soccer 2015 regular season had come to a close, the MLS Playoffs are now underway, with the MLS Conference Championships happening tonight (Sunday).

A lot has been said about each of the four teams that are only three games away from one becoming Major League Soccer’s Champion for 2015.

With MLS Eastern Conference finalists Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls looking to implement different defense and attack strategies, the main talk about the MLS Western Conference Championships is about FC Dallas’s squad of young players with fresh legs, facing Portland Timbers’ experienced veterans.

FC Dallas advanced through Major League Soccer’s Western Conference on the back of a squad that manages to keep up a fast game pace until the last minute, with what seems to be endless stamina and endurance.  Thus, being highly mobile on the pitch, creating danger to any opponent they are facing, and then having the speed and agility to close down and defend when required.

Yep, Dallas’s Head Coach Oscar Pareja, who is also up for MLS Coach of The Year has built his team on one key component – youth.  Where the average age is 24.5, with only two players over the age of 25, other Major League Soccer clubs are following closely Dallas’s success and now investing in their own youth and academy programs.

Notably in Dallas’s youth movement are leaders Mauro Diaz, Fabian Castillo and David Texeira.  Together, these three youngsters comprise one of the most dangerous attacking forces in Major League Soccer.  With Diaz, Castillo and Texeira registering in this season 23 goals and 22 assists combined.

Portland on the other end, is leaning on its experienced veterans to counter Dallas’s kids.  The Timbers’ seasoned, experienced players were the ones to carry the team throughout the season, but especially during the last stretch of the Major League Soccer regular season, where a successful run through September and October got Portland the third slot in the MLS West.

Notably, Diego Chara and Darlington Negbe have been showing impressive playmaking abilities in Portland’s midfield.  They both work together to create opportunities, and set the Timbers’ giant forward, 6.4ft Fernando Adi with goal-scoring opportunities.  Adi capitalized and registered 16 goals and 3 assists this MLS regular season.

The two solid, mature defenders Liam Ridgewell (31) and Nat Borchers (34) guard Portland’s back.  They allowed Portland to concede only 39 goals in 34 games this MLS Season.

So what will happen in the MLS West? Is it going to be the kids or the veterans? One thing for sure – the MLS West is going to be wild tonight!