With the 4 game losing streak finally broken the Portland Timbers can now look to earning their first away win of the year. Getting that away win is always a big step and Portland didn't get that last year until late over halfway through the first season. If they can get it earlier then last year it will be a big step in recovering from the early funk they were in. So what will it take to break down the Montreal Impact?
Portland will win if: Portland continues the defensive stinginess they should in the first couple of games and last weeks win against SKC. The communication at the back was easily the best it has been last week and if that continues opponents will find it hard to break down Portland and when goals are kept out of the net there is always a possibility of a win. Troy Perkins must continue to snuff out any chances that Montreal may create and his distribution needs to continue to improve.
Portland will lose if: They revert back to they played during the 4 game losing streak. Especially if they lack communication and the ability to be cohesive as a unit. If Troy or the defenders continue to make major mistakes it could be another long day on the road for the Timbers.
Portland will win if: The midfielders can play both Offense and Defense. Last week they showed that defensively they can handle one of the best offenses in the league. This week they need to show they can get forward and cause a confusion against a team that has shown at times lack of cohesion defensively.
Portland will lose if: The midfielders are unable to find any rhythm and continuity going forward and resort to long balls. If they resort to "Route One" soccer Montreal's play makers will be allowed more time to possess the ball in front of their home crowd and feed off the energy this creates.
Portland will win if: The forwards combine for more than 1 goal. Kris Boyd will be a beast and the main focus of all Montreal's defense. This means Perlaza, or whoever else is paired up front with Boyd, needs to contribute an assist or a goal to loosen that focus on Boyd. If that happen Boyd scores another and it is game over.
Portland will lose if: The Forwards get zero quality service from the midfielders. If the service is there and Boyd and/or Perlaza do not show the requisite quality to put Portland ahead this will give Montreal hope. The Hope will translate to more energy and thus a tougher game.
Portland comes out and scores the first goal in the first 15 minutes of the game but gives up a late first half goal. The Second half Portland shuts down all of Montreal's attack but barely gets any chances themselves and gets a stoppage time winner late. 2-1 Portland.