Central Winger: What separates the pass-happy attacks of Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake?

Central Winger: A deeper look at Wednesday's RSL-POR Open Cup clash

When Portland visit Rio Tinto Stadium for their US Open Cup semifinal against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night, we will get 90 minutes (perhaps more) of action between two MLS squads who happen to be displaying some of the best tactical nous in the country.

18 June 3:01 pm

Dallas, Toronto et Rio sont les destinations privilégiées de l’émission Coup Franc hebdomadaire (à écouter ici) qui passe aussi par Tenerife, d’où Christian Schaekels rejoint l’équipe composée cette semaine de Matthias Van Halst et Olivier Tremblay.

Central Winger: Proof that qualifying for the World Cup out of CONCACAF is tougher than Europe

Central Winger: Why CONCACAF qualifying is tougher than Europe

USMNT celebrate vs Panama for Central Winger

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We might be beating a dead horse, but qualifying for the World Cup out of CONCACAF is an entirely different beast.

Looking at the Hexagonal matches for CONCACAF qualifying during the past three World Cup cycles in comparison to UEFA group-stage qualifying, you see an incredibly staggering advantage for home teams in North America.

Here is a percentile breakdown of results for CONCACAF:

Central Winger: Short corners are suddenly in vogue in MLS with Real Salt Lake leading the way

Central Winger: Short corners are in vogue with RSL leading the way

Central Winger: Does winning aerial balls translate into possession, winning games?

Central Winger: Win in the air, win in the standings? Maybe not

Aurelien Collin and Djimi Traore (Central Winger)

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USA Today Sports

Even without the help of modern soccer technology, soccer coaches – especially in my experience growing up in the American soccer system – had a passing interest in statistics. On multiple occasions, while sidelined with an injury, I was stuck tallying how many times my team won and lost "50/50" balls as well as the "second balls" that immediately followed.

Central Winger: Is the Portland Timbers' 11-game unbeaten streak "lucky"?

Central Winger: Putting Portland's unbeaten run in perspective

Central Winger - Timbers celebrate in DC

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Thirteen games into the 2013 season, the Portland Timbers have only lost one match and currently find themselves running fourth in the Supporters' Shield race. What's perhaps even more impressive is that they're currently on an 11-game unbeaten run.

In a league like MLS, where any team can beat another on any given day, this is particularly impressive. But just how exceptional is it?

15 May 8:36 pm

On Tuesday, I noted that Uri Rosell has done superb work cleaning up messes in the central midfield for Sporting KC which, in all honesty, was one of the big questions for that team headed into the season.

Thanks to his work (and Paolo Nagamura, and Benny Feilhaber, and Peterson Joseph, and even a little bit of Lawrence Olum), attacking KC up the gut is still a no-go. But attacking from out wide doesn't work so great, either:

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