Starting off hot with 2 wins out of 2 games, Timbers 2 face their first road trip tonight in Salt Lake City. Their first win came against the Monarchs in their home opener on March 29th, but now they face a more full strength squad on their home turf. To help us look at who we might face tonight, Matt Montgomery of RSL Soapbox and I exchanged words in a simple Q&A similar to what we do for the first team matches.
STF: Who's one player Timbers 2 should be paying attention to?
Matt: Emery Welshman, who, to this point, has been known more for his once being drafted by Toronto FC, is just coming off of an international break with Guyana. Likely to play out wide, Welshman saw substantial minutes in Real Salt Lake's preseason on the flank and performed reasonably well. With many unknowns in the team, Welshman represents something of a known quantity. Portland will want to watch for his speed and his finishing.
Other names to keep an ear to the ground for: Lucas Baldin, a smart-passing possession midfielder; Riley McGovern, an apparently solid full back.
STF: What do you think is the biggest weakness for this Monarchs side right now?
Matt: Tactical and positional uncertainty are probably the biggest things facing Real Monarchs, just as they're still things RSL is coping with. Both teams are sussing out their implementations of the 4-3-3, but Monarchs has an advatange in that they've never done anything different. This is, I imagine, something most teams are finding difficult. Until then, it'll be difficult to pinpoint one or two weaknesses that are systemic to the team.
STF: What is the biggest strength for this team?
Matt: A number of players with the first team will almost certainly be getting minutes in this one, including the sparky Sebastian Saucedo. He's marked by creativity in possession, and that will be part of the team's tactical focus: He's a player that wants to -- or almost demands to by his ability and style -- be the driving force behind the attack. He's slight, but he could be playing centrally from the start.
Bonus! What is your guess at the Starting XI for the Monarchs tonight?
Matt: Lalo Fernandez*; Boyd Okwuonu*, Aaron Maund*, Marvin Baumgartner, Riley McGovern; Fito Ovalle*, Lucas Baldin, Ricardo Velazco; Emery Welshman, Leon Brown, Sebastian Saucedo*
*-players on loan from Real Salt Lake
I'd like to thank Matt for his time with us and check out my answers over on RSL Soapbox.