The Portland Timbers head to PPL Park on Saturday to face the Philadelphia Union sitting just one point off the Western Conference lead. Typically one would expect such a game to draw out a first-choice lineup from the Timbers, but with multiple players carrying nagging injuries coming off a long, busy stretch of games, and with three consecutive matches against Western Conference playoff contenders upcoming, the Timbers are expected to be without at least a few contributors.
But any points are valuable in a Western Conference race in which three points could very well make a material difference in playoff positioning and CONCACAF Champions League qualification, so the pressure will be on the Timbers’ mixed lineup on Saturday to keep pace in the West.
Match Preview: "The Union, after winning one match in their first eleven, has started to pull it together since then and have looked like a decidedly middle of the road team as they have gotten results against some strong sides, but also lost to some weak ones. That rough start to the season has the Union as one of the favorites for the wooden spoon in MLS, in competition with the Colorado Rapids and the Chicago Fire, but with the packed nature of the table in 2015, they could easily find themselves in playoff contention if they can keep up their current pace."
Preview Interview: "In typical Union fashion, even the Union's bright spots aren't without their drawbacks. CJ Sapong has been a huge acquisition, scoring a goal in four of his last five MLS matches. He was also out for a few weeks with broken bones in his face and missed almost a month in league-mandated Drug and Alcohol Rehab for a DUI he received. Fernando Aristeguieta has been dangerous, but has also been injured for almost half of the Union's games. Cristian Maidana and Vincent Nogueira - the creative midfield engine of the Union - have also spent time on the injured list. For the first time all season, the Union should be able to field a healthy starting eleven of first-choice players."
Watch it on: ROOT Sports
Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. PT at PPL Park in Chester, PA
Portland Timbers: 9-6-4, 3rd place in the Western Conference
Philadelphia Union: 5-10-4, 7th place in the Eastern Conference