This match could be a tough one for the Timbers. Midfielder Diego Chara is back in the lineup, but taking on the champs without Diego Valeri and Will Johnson is a tall order. Even so, Portland needs three points from Robbie Keane’s group before Steven Gerrard comes to town. Things will only get harder from here on out.
Last week, Portland impressed with a solid defense and surprisingly serviceable midfield. George Fochive and Jack Jewsbury played great and locked down Javi Morales and Luis Gil. The old captain Jack channeled his youth and provided fantastic set piece service, something that the Timbers can lack even with Valeri on the pitch. Most surprising to me though, was the starting of Dairon Asprilla over Gaston Fernandez. Asprilla has great energy on the wing, but showed a lack of control that concerns me. Giving up the ball while the fullbacks join the attack can lead to quick counters and goals. La Gata might not have the creativity and unpredictability that Asprilla brings, but he knows how to settle and control a match.
On the positive side today is that Diego Chara returns to the starting lineup. This alleviates my concerns with Asprilla on the right. I trust Chara far more than Fochive to make up for any mistakes on the wing.
Portland Timbers: Kwarasey; Villafana, Ridgewell, Borchers, Powell; Jewsbury, Chara; Wallace, Nagbe, Asprilla; Adi
LA Galaxy: Rowe; Rogers, Leonardo, Gonzalez, Gargan; VIllarreal, Husidic, Juninho, Ishizaki; Zardes, Keane