Gonzalo Higuaín may have had a brace this past weekend but Eryk Williamson had the best performance of the past week, making the Portland Timbers midfielder the ‘MLS Multiplex Player of the Week.’
Williamson pulled a most effective shift for the Portland Timbers this past weekend, playing a deep-lying destroyer role that gave him the space to make deep runs off the ball while also act as a secondary playmaker in the midfield. His two assists paced the Timbers in a 2-0 win this past weekend at the San Jose Earthquakes.
And it isn’t to take away from Higuaín’s performance, his brace propelling Inter Miami to a 3-2 win at FC Cincinnati on Sunday. That Higuaín’s two goals came against a USL side only underscores the performance Williamson had against an opponent that has been difficult to break down.
(Low blow with the USL line, sorry…truthfully, FC Cincinnati showed some life this past weekend against Inter Miami for the first time since the first half of a season opening 2-2 result at Nashville SC…).
What made Williamson’s performance impressive was the duality of his role. Deployed in front of the Timbers’ backline, he did a tremendous job in winning duals and second balls, but also in terms of shuttling centrally then spraying the ball out wide.
Factor in his passing and vision in the final-third and the performance was a revelation.
While Higuaín will get the attention for the brash stat line against a second division side (ugh, there we go again, stop it), Eryk Williamson’s role in the Portland Timbers road win is unquestioned and is the best performance of any deep-lying midfielder in MLS this season.
In Saturday’s road win, Williamson looked a bit like Weston McKennie, the United States international who has become a vital cog for Juventus this season. While McKennie’s work rate is unbelievable, Williamson was instrumental in breaking up plays but also showed vision to spread the ball wide. Offensively, he drifted out into space on the flanks and showed a willingness to take San Jose players on the dribble.
He completed 88 percent of his passes in his 90 minutes played, the second-highest pass competition percentage he’s had for the season.