Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
PORTLAND, Ore. — Caleb Porter already has a plan in place to manage the amount of minutes many, if not all, of the MLS All-Stars will play on Wednesday.
With a full slate of league matches on tap for this weekend, Porter wants to limit how fatigued MLS players get during the upcoming All-Star Game. Giving the star-studded Bayern Munich at Providence Park a run for their money and showing well for MLS is of course something the competitive Porter craves, but not at the expense of running his players into the ground.
That is why instead of taking the approach of slowly substituting players in over the course of 90 minutes as previous MLS All-Star head coaches have opted for, Porter intends to use different groups at the start of each half to keep players fresh.
“Obviously, I need to manage the minutes of these players. That’s a priority,” said Porter. “I want these players to go back to their clubs healthy, and a lot of them have games Saturday, Sunday so that means that we need to manage some minutes of players and we’re pretty much going to play two separate groups first half and second half.”
While such major changes in the lineup could completely alter the tempo or flow of the game, Bayern Munich are also expected to make several substitutions as they continue their preseason preparations ahead of the start of the Bundesliga.
Still, Porter is planning on trying to get MLS back to winning ways in the All-Star Game by playing the type of proactive brand of soccer that has become the norm with his Timbers.
“The key is to highlight these players,” said Porter. “It’s a celebration of these players and their careers for what they have done this year and not just this year (and) to showcase the league. Hopefully we can make it a competitive game, we’ll try to make it exciting.
“We have very good attacking players and defensive players, but it wouldn’t do these players justice if we sit back. We will attack and try to make for an exciting game.”
What do you think of Porter’s plan to field two different lineups? Which groups of MLS players would you like to see at the start of each half? Think the attack mindset will lead to a high-scoring game?
Share your thoughts below.