1. An evolving coaching strategy
One of the constants from Gio Savarese’s first two seasons is that the strategy he wants to use on the field and what works with the players he has available have been two very different things.
However, the new pieces he has brought in this offseason bring versatility and speed up and down the pitch, especially with Yimmi Chara bringing an attacking mindset on the right flank, something that has been lacking the past couple of seasons.
If the Timbers click and move past being a counter-attacking team, they could develop into one of the elite teams in MLS. With goalscoring threats at all positions in attack and the full-backs bombing up the pitch and providing the width to overwhelm opposing defenses, the Timbers might finally have a team that can score goals in a multitude of ways, not just on the break.
Minnesota United presents a stiff challenge to the Timbers, with two-time MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara anchoring one of the better units in the league. But Savarese wants to see his team break down opponents with considered periods of possession, not just blistering counter-attacks. With the new additions this offseason, will we finally see the Timbers evolve?