Wednesday night Maximiliano Urruti returned to Portland and while he received a warm reception, by the time the first half whistle had blown, Timbers fans wish he had never come back.
Urruti played his most complete match of the season and while he didn't score a goal, he directly created two and was a Blas Perez-style menace all evening, chasing down defenders and dispossessing them. Let's have a look at his play.
Breaking & Entering
Maxi's first tackle/takeaway was brilliant.
He gets the ball away from Jewsbury without using his hands once, which is hard to do when you're not a defender used to dispossessing. He then sort of holds off Jack which gives Akindele the clear lane to take ball up, where they do this:
Even after the tackle, Urruti runs up the middle to 1) give Akindele a second option other than Barrios and 2) and more importantly, forces Nat Borchers to stay in the middle and not commit to either defender. By the time the ball is passed, Borchers is too far from Barrios and only gets to him in time to see the ball leave his foot and slot into the net. This play was all about effort from Urruti.
Wednesday was truly his night, as his effort did not stop there.
This tackle was picturesque as Maxi takes the ball off of poor Jewsbury once again. Beyond that, he doesn't just clear it away, but pokes it directly to a cutting Fabian Castillo — as if the play was drawn up. It's sort of comical how the each player in front of Urruti starts to come back towards the Timbers end when they see him catching up to Jewsbury.
The best part of this play, however, was the Argentine's run up to that tackle. Pure hustle.
I think the majority of people thought that when Urruti came here, he'd come on late and score some goals and in total, be a solid player. I think a large portion of those people did not expect for him to accumulate four tackles in a road game where two of which led to goals. Yet, that's exactly what happened and the young striker has shown us what he's capable of.
It's really hard to tell whether or not this can continue. For one, Portland was a bit careless with the ball and so Urruti was given the chances to take the ball away. At the same time, he creates those dispossessions through his work rate and if he can keep that up, FC Dallas will be offensively formidable even if Mauro Diaz or Fabian Castillo ever aren't.