Portland is on a great run at the moment. The Timbers have won 6 of their last 7 matches which catapulted them from below 6th place to now tied for second place with the LA Galaxy. The run has been gritty and rough for Portland and will only slow down a bit but ramps back up with two goliaths at the end of the month. Let us take a look at who Portland is taking on, how they're affected by international call-ups and how the team looks as it enters these matches.
1. July 11th Away Against The Philadelphia Union
Union will have a call up in Andre Blake and Alvas Powell both of Jamaica will likely get called up. The two teams will suffer from injuries making players questionable to play this weekend. For Portland Diego Chara, will be unlikely to start with his ankle sprain and Darlington Nagbe could be questionable with the shoulder injury he sustained in the dog pile this past weekend. Union has several players who might miss this weekend's game due to injury, but the main two are Sebastien LeToux with an MCL strain, and Michael Lahoud with an injury to his quad. Due to Yellow card accumulation and red cards Erik Ayuk will miss this weekend's game for Union, but Portland won't lose anyone.
This should leave Portland as the stronger squad as a whole, but every time Portland has played Union in PPL stadium they have drawn with them. Union has not managed to ever defeat Portland in MLS. When we take a look at the rankings this match becomes a quite winnable affair for Portland. Portland sits near the top of the Western Conference while Union are sitting at 8th in the east with only 5 wins this season. Portland should go into this match up expecting to pull 3 points away. With the current form, the weakened potential state of Union and their current form should allow for a positive result.
2. July 18th Home Against The Vancouver Whitecaps
There are a few key absences that could help Portland grab 3 points at home. Whitecaps will lose one of their stars to the gold up in Darron Mattocks which will hinder their attack. Sam Adekugbe might be out this game with an ankle injury, but this is not guaranteed and might be called up. All potential call-ups for Whitecaps: Sam Adekugbe (Canada), Kianz Froese (Canada), Darren Mattocks (Jamaica), Russell Teibert (Canada), Kendall Waston (Costa Rica). Powell will likely still be gone for this match.
They might also lose Pedro Morales and Robert Earnshaw who recently sprained their calfs. This would be a great chance for Portland to get revenge against the top ranked Whitecaps who beat them earlier this season. Whitecaps sit one point ahead of Portland tied for first and a win this week would set Portland on schedule to be first this season in the Western Conference.
3. July 25th Away Against FC Dallas
Portland currently sits 2 points ahead of FC Dallas, but this may not be the case in three weeks. Dallas has been a formidable side this season handing out some of the biggest defeats of the year across the league. Portland holds a win over Dallas earlier in the season with a scoreline of 3 to 1. That was at home for Portland, this game will be away and Dallas has been strong at home. Dallas is one of the biggest hit by potential call-ups:: Tesho Akindele (Canada), Kyle Bekker (Canada), Rolando Escobar (Panama), Moises Hernandez (Guatemala), Blas Perez (Panama), Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica). The biggest positives for Portland fans being the missing of Akindele, Bekker, and Blas Perez. This will hurt the attack severely for Dallas. Powell will likely still be out there will be depth there with Peay likely stepping in among others.
The only injuries as of now that might affect the match-up from Portland will be if Chara stays out with the sprain or if Nagbe's injury is more severe than previously reported. FC Dallas only has Hedges out with a sprain and over 3 weeks should make sure he's fine. In all likelihood, no current injuries will affect this match.
All of Portlands upcoming competitors are severely depleted by international duties for the Gold Cup giving Portland a chance to capitalize and gain some breathing room for the rest of the season. Each match is winnable for Portland and 9 points would not be unthinkable when considering the current state of teams, and the momentum of Portland. Expect a great July if you're a Portland fan.