The boys in blue will look to continue their run of good form against the struggling men of Rose City.
It was not so long ago that a match against the Timbers felt like a loss, but the two sides have switched roles. The first-place Union (7-3-3, 24 points) now inhabit the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference (and even the league), while the proud-but-struggling Timbers (3-2-6, 11 points) sit in tenth of twelve teams in the West. The U are coming off of a scoreless draw at home against a bunkered Seattle side in which the Union were clearly the better of the two teams. The Timbers are coming off a 1-1 draw against the surprising Dynamo, and have looked good recently after a terrible start.
What the Union have going for them:
- They’re at home. Fortress Talen Energy Stadium is alive and well, having barely let Seattle escape with a point last match.
- Blake is back. No offense to Matt Freese or Carlos Miguel Coronel, but Andre Blake is one of the best goalkeepers in MLS (and CONCACAF as a whole). It’s big to get your best keeper back.
- Train kept a rollin’. The Union just keep doing what they do: pressing, getting the ball back in good positions, creating chances. If they do that against Portland, it’ll be hard to not collect all three points.
What the Union have going against them:
- Portland is playing better than they were at the start of the season. After collecting one point in their first six matches, they’ve come around and are playing much better ball.
- The Timbers went and got help. They also signed Argentine striker Brian Fernandez in the transfer window, and he’s already tallied for them and looks to be a difference maker, much like he was in Liga MX.
- Marco Fabian is struggling. Between the ankle injury he picked up and the two-match suspension he had to serve for a red card he was shown, Fabian hasn’t really gotten rolling within the Union system. It’s a blow that’s been cushioned greatly with the emergence of youngster Brenden Aaronson, but the 18-year-old academy product doesn’t have the offensive ability of Fabian. The Union could use Fabian back and in sync.
It will take more than a scoreless draw against a bunkering Seattle side to shake my confidence in this team. The Union take all three points.
Union 2 – Timbers 1