Match Preview: Union vs Portland Timbers, Saturday April 8th, 7 PM

The Union look to chop down the Timbers in Chester.

Okay, before we get down to the usual business, we need to get something out of the way: the Union’s year is far from over. Yes, I know they’ve stunk it up and have a myriad of problems (their best outfield player is playing out of position, the guy who should be playing where their best outfield player is playing still isn’t fit somehow) and injuries (Ilsinho, Maurice Edu, now Richie Marquez), but it all boils down to this: getting results at home.

Whether it’s the extensive travel for the away team, playing on a custom field in friendly confines, or just being able to sleep in their own beds, MLS teams enjoy a huge advantage at home. You can play badly in away matches but take care of business at home and be fine. The Union have played one match at home this year, and took a point from a tough Toronto side in it. Over the next three weeks, they have three straight home matches (vs Portland, NYCFC, and Montreal) on regular rest. It’s reasonable to say we’ll know a lot more about this Union side after those three matches. If they can come up with five points from these three matches, they’re alive and kicking. If not, their playoff dreams (and most likely manager Jim Curtin) are both in trouble.

Onto this week’s tilt…

Series History: 

Last year on September 17th, the Union went to the Rose City and lost 2-1 in their lone matchup.

An eye on Portland:

The Timbers are already on ten points, having gone 3-1-1 in their first five matches. They have a multitude of weapons, including US international midfielder Darlington Nagbe, Argentinian midfielder Diego Valeri, and forward Fanendo Adi. This will be a tough test for the boys in blue.

Key players for the Union:

C.J. Sapong has scored in three straight matches. Andre Blake needs to have a hell of a game to get a result. It would be nice to see a fit Roland Alberg on the pitch as the 10 so Alejandro Bedoya can pair with Haris Medunjanin as the 8 and 6 respectively, which is the midfield we all really deserve.

Possible Union Starting XI:

Who knows? Everything is on the table (or should be); changing the lineup, changing the formation, changing the manager. This team needs to figure out how to get results and fast.

Fearless Forecast:

They need five points out of these next three matches. They don’t get any here. Timbers 2, Union 1.

At least we’ll always have this.

Other news:

-The Union announced a partnership with Doggie Style Pets (a pet rescue operation) and will have several animals available to adopt on Toyota Plaza at each home match .

-The Union will host Premier side Swansea City in a friendly on Saturday, July 15th at 7 PM.

-Midfielder Eric Ayuk was loaned to Jonkopings Sodra IE in the Swedish top flight for the rest of the year.

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