Portland vs LA: What Portland needs to do to win

In each of Portland's last two home games they have come out strong and actually scored the first two goals of the game. If the Portland Timbers want to win this game, they will need to do so again. Writing that is easier than actually doing it, especially with how inconsistent Portland has been.

Side note: For all those who are hoping to see some changes in the line-up, I want to warn you to not get your hopes up. Gavin has said on numerous occasions that there will be very little changed going into Today's game. While I know this is not what you nor I want to see, this is most likely the best course of action. The biggest reason: a lot of these players are still shell shocked from the loss of their coach, especially the veterans. If Gavin were to drop all of the veterans for the young players, he runs the risk of splitting the locker room in half, which would then ensure a terrible second half of the season.

With that in mind here is what the Timbers need to do to ensure they get the full 3 points:

Troy Perkins

Troy has arguably been the most consistent player for the Timbers, but we need him to be a little more vocal and to keep his distribution at least mediocre. If he can continue to make the saves Portland needs him to then Portland will always have a chance in almost every game.

Defenders

Judging from the comments coming from Kosuke Kimura and from what others have theorized, communication has been lacking. This lack of communication was on full display when Steven Smith and David Horst let Alvaro Saborio get in between them for an easy goal. With LA's offensive players the Timbers will be toast if they don't communicate. The good thing about this game is that Hayner Mosquera could be in the line-up, which means we have our best CB back.

Midfielders

As long as Portland doesn't go with 3 CMs I don't know how the midfielders could not do better this game. I would assume that with Diego Chara out we will see Captain Jack Jewsbury and Darlington Nagbe in the middle of the pitch. Franck Songo'o and Eric Alexander will be out wide. Every one of these players not only has to think about offense but they need to be ready to help out defensively. Landon Donovan is one of the best counter attacking midfielders in MLS. Whoever lines up opposite Landycakes needs to be aware of where he is and to not get too far up field, or else Portland may get punished.

Offensively Portland needs to actually possess the ball for a meaningful period of time. This usually hinges on Nagbe or Chara to act as pressure valves but with Chara suspended Captain Jack needs to step his game up and not only be an outlet but be a creator too.

Forwards

Keep making the runs. Even though the midfielders did not reward the runs last game, the forwards need to continue making those runs. Without those runs Portland's attack becomes one dimensional and easy to defend. In order for Portland's attack to be successful there needs to be multiple avenues to pass the ball into dangerous locations and forwards making runs behind the defense is one way to create multiple avenues.

Prediction

2-2 tie. It might be one of those games where the Timbers come out with fire to prove to everyone, but I can also see it going the opposite way with too many distractions during the week.

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