Over the last 5 games the Portland Timbers have gained 5 points and this next game is another opportunity to move up the standings. The Chicago Fire come into the game with 10 points in their last 10 games and the last game was a win at Sporting Kansas City. Currently the Fire sit in 4th place in the East with 15 points. Hopefully Portland can keep their perfect record against Chicago Alive.
Portland will win if: They continue to hold their team shape and continue for each others mistakes. Portland has really settled into a good rhythm defensively over the past few games and it will need to continue in order to give the offense a chance to get kick started. Troy Perkins just needs to continue to come up big when the Timbers need him too.
Portland will lose if: They revert back to early season form and allow speed on the wings to get the defensive shape out of whack. If Portland has to cover for the outside backs to the point where the CB's are finding themselves playing towards the edges of the pitch rather than in the center of the pitch Portland will be in a world of hurt.
Portland will win if: The outside wings can get the ball into dangerous positions and actually deliver the final pass. If the mids can actually hit the right pass the forwards can actually score. Our CMs, specifically Chara also need to be better in finding the right pass to unlock the defense of Chicago.
Portland will lose if: Chicago is allowed space and time on the wings and use their speed to continually attack Portland's outside backs. If the Portland's wings cannot exert pressure on Chicago's wings Portland's backs will be exposed to their biggest weakness, speed.
Portland will win if: Someone actually has the confidence to shoot and shoot early. As Andrew mentioned in a previous thread, scoring is a habit and right now it isn't habitual yet for Portland. Instead of trying to have the perfect shot Portland just needs to put shots on frame and one will go in.
Portland will lose if: The forwards continue to bury their chances. Chicago has only given up 10 goals all season and if they can continue to be stingy on defense they will easily hold the Timbers at bay.
Prediction: Portland ties 1-1.