Portland Timbers – Match Report vs. Sporting Kansas City (22/08/2022)

Sporting Kansas City demolished the Portland Timbers 4-1 in MLS action. SKC has struggled mightily with injuries this season but a couple of key additions have seen them begin a strong run of form. SKC played in a 4-3-3 and looked to dominate possession, as they have done for over a decade under Peter Vermes. Portland played in a 4-4-1-1 but they were not able to either maintain possession or prevent SKC from hitting them in transition. 

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Santiago Moreno

  • Nationality: Colombian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 21/04/2000
  • Current Club: Portland Timbers
  • Career: CD América 
  • Position: Winger
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Santiago Moreno played on both wings for Portland in this match and was probably one of their best players. Moreno has a ton of technical quality, being a very skilled dribbler and passer. Moreno seems to glide when he has the ball at his feet. He has a lot of flair and is capable of pulling off something unexpected to get by a player at any moment. Though he is quick he does not rely on that to get past players, and he always moves with the ball in close control, not just knocking it forward. Moreno is also a surprisingly good passer for a dribbly winger. He was able to drift into central areas and play some progressive passes. Defensively he was very strong. He put in a lot of work to close down opposing players and track back defensively.

But where Moreno leaves a little bit to be desired is in the final 3rd. It’s not that he’s totally awful, he’s just ok. He created one glorious opportunity in this match, cutting the ball back to Dairon Asprilla at the top of the 6-yard-box. But other than that it was mostly long-range shots that did not trouble the SKC goalkeeper. If he is going to take a step up in level he is going to have to do this sort of thing a lot more. Moreno does a lot of stuff extremely well but teams that represent a genuine step up from MLS can find players who do those things and are deadly in the final 3rd. Then again, there is the other career path for skilled wingers, who can do some defending but are not quite productive enough. Move him to wing-back! I think Moreno has the skill set that would make him work well as a wing-back in a dominant team. 

Rating: A2

Moreno is almost 23 so the chance of his big offensive breakout coming is getting slimmer all the time. But other than that he has the skill level to play at a higher level. I think, however, that he could be an interesting project as a wing-back on a Europa League-level team.

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