After two crazy weeks of movement, sexism and generally craziness it is time again to focus on the pitch. The Columbus Crew are coming into the game with a 4 match losing streak and we all know the Portland Timbers recent run of form. Either way it could be an ugly game but if Portland does win it would be a big step in the right direction for them.
Portland will win if: They actually get a defensive effort out of the fullbacks and not the "ole" defense they have been getting. If they get a better effort out of the RB and the LB this will then allow Hanyer Mosquera and Eric Brunner to actually play their CB position without running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to cover the fullback position as well. Portland's CB's will need to be ready for a physical battle as Columbus has always had tough physical forwards that like to throw their weight around.
Portland will lose if: They have the same problems at outside back as they have been. 80% of Portland's goals have originated from their right hand side of the field. If this trend continues Portland will continue to lose. Columbus does not have the wingers they used to have but any winger given time and room to operate can hurt the Timbers. If Columbus' Forwards are allowed to be physical and have space in the box Portland will be giving too many goal scoring opportunities.
Portland will win if: They actually play with a midfield that can possess the ball and that will make passes going forward and not just back. If Jewsbury moves to the RB position this allows the Timbers to actually have a distributor play in the CM role, which is what Portland needs desperately. The wingers also need to play better defensively and possession based.
Portland will lose if: The continue to pass the ball back to the defenders who, having no where else to go, just boot the ball up the field to the Forwards. If the wingers are not involved in the attack and hit better service to the forwards Portland will flounder offensively.
Portland will win if: Kris Boyd gets service and does something with that service. If Mike Fucito comes in to play he needs to do better at having the ball at his feet and if Jorge Perlaza starts he needs to actually control the ball when it is at his feet. If Perlaza can not only make the runs but hit the passes as well Portland has a chance at winning.
Portland will lose if: Perlaza continues to have the ball stick to his boot or bounce 5 feet away from him. If Boyd gets zero service in places where he can create dangerous chances Portland will not be able to score goals. No goals = no win (amazing formula isn't it).