The Portland Timbers 2 will finish off a rough four game road trip with a visit to the desert. Playing Arizona United in their home opener, T2 could find a boost from a very special first team loan who traveled with them and is expected to play.
T2 (2-2-1, 7pts) got full points from their two home matches. Their previous three games on the road have been far from ideal. They played Real Monarchs to a draw in their home opener which so far has been the only point to bring back to Portland. Defeated in the next two games by Sounders 2 and then Sacramento Republic, T2 have been struggling on the road. They were held scoreless for the first time in their existence as Sacramento defeated them 3-0 behind a USL Player of the Week performance from midfielder Rodrigo Lopez.
T2 finds itself boosted with a short term loan of Timbers captain and midfielder Will Johnson. Having returned from injury and participated in full training with the first team, Johnson has been loaned to T2 to gain match fitness and minutes ahead of returning to the first team lineup. Caleb Porter said in training earlier this week that he will be expected to get 50-60 minutes with T2 tonight against Arizona. So we expect him to start, and a key for this match will be watching Will Johnson and seeing how close he is to getting back to first team minutes.
In addition to Will Johnson, T2 also signed veteran and utility player Danny O'Rourke. Although no signing has been made truly official, O'Rourke is on the T2 roster (having been discovered last Saturday by our own Will Conwell) and an announcement should have come this past week but nothing has yet. With two veteran players added to the T2 squad, hopefully they can secure their first road win.
Arizona United SC
Arizona United SC (3-1-0, 9pts) played it's first four matches on the road and won 3 of them. They defeated Orange County Blues, LA Galaxy II, and Austin Aztex before having their perfect record disrupted by a second visit to Orange County Blues FC. Arizona also suffered a 3-0 loss in southern California and will look to rebound as they play in front of their home crowd for the first time this season.
Lackluster performances in the previous road matches by T2 will hopefully not be repeated on this final match of their trip. Arizona United will be boosted by previously poor road form of T2 and a large home crowd. At least 5,100 tickets have been sold for their first home match and they expect it to be buzzing. Arizona United Forwards Long Tan and Dennis Chin have a pair of goals each so far and will be players to keep an eye out for this evening. And on the T2 side, Schillo Tshuma and Blair Gavin have connections to the area with Tshuma spending time on loan with Arizona United last season and Gavin being a native of Scottsdale.
But in order for Arizona to get a win in their home opener vs T2 they will have to get through Will Johnson.
Watch it: Streamed live on Timbers.com/T2 and embedded in our T2 match thread
Kickoff: Saturday, April 25th, 7:30pm pacific at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona
Portland Timbers 2: 2-2-1, 7pts, 5th place in the USL Western Conference
Arizona United SC: 3-1-0, 9pts, 2nd place in the USL Western Conference