Coming home from Montreal with anything less than three points today is a failure for the Portland Timbers. A win puts the PTFC a handful of points away from the top and just outside the playoff line. Losing isn’t something that the Timbers Army will accept.
Despite making it to the CONCACAF Champions League finals, they Impact haven’t found success through their four MLS matches this season. So far, they have two goals and two points and sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Montreal has already played once this week against Toronto in the Canadian Championship where they won 1-0 at home. They shouldn’t be too tired with no travel, but with many of their starters playing it could slow them down and any advantage that Portland can get is a good thing. While winning might give them some confidence, getting just a single goal from Toronto’s B team shouldn’t be too much cause for concern.
If Portland can score today they will win, that’s what I see it coming down to. Adam Kwarasey might give something up, but if the attack can find its teeth I don’t see a draw or loss in the cards. With the Timbers’ attack struggling, this could come down to Diego Valeri. He could start for the first time this season and it couldn’t come at a better time. We need him to feed balls to the forwards and take pressure off of Darlington Nagbe. Nothing should excite a Timbers fan more than the idea of Valeri, Wallace, and Nagbe playing together again.
One question is who starts up top for Portland between Adi and Urruti? Caleb Porter has give Urruti the start the last two matches, but this hasn’t led to results. I think it’s going to be Fanendo Adi. His strength matches up well against the Impact in my mind and I think he’s ready to redeem himself with the fans.
Portland Timbers: Kwarasey; Villafana, Ridgewell, Borchers, Powell; Jewsbury, Chara; Wallace, Valeri, Nagbe; Adi
Montreal Impact: Bush; Miller, Ciman, Soumare, Reo-Coker; Donadel, Bernier; Duka, Piatti, Romero; Oduro