Tomorrow, just three days after their 4-0 walloping of Minnesota United, the Portland Timbers are set to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps in their second match of the Simple Invitational. Having run out their first team for the duration of Sunday's match, the Timbers will now field a very different XI, one that could bear some similarities to what we will see from the Timbers later in the season, perhaps during the U.S. Open Cup or CONCACAF Champions League.
While the Timbers could look to give some minutes to their presumed third keeper, either Justin Luthy or Wade Hamilton, the safe bet here is that we will see Jake Gleeson for the duration.
The one position where there is no ambiguity for the Timbers; after Sunday's match, Porter told the press that Andrew Thoma would play approximately 60 minutes of the match against the Whitecaps at left back while Zarek Valentin will play the remainder, mirroring how the two were deployed earlier in the week.
Right back is similarly cut and dry, with Taylor Peay as the team's main depth option behind Alvas Powell. If Valentin were not otherwise occupied filling in on the left due to the Timbers' turmoil at the position, he would be challenging for the second spot on the right flank, but as it stands, Peay is the team's only real option.
Like at the right back spot, the Timbers' are limited in their choices at center back in this one. With Liam Ridgewell and Chris Klute both out on Sunday, the Timbers were forced to eliminate Valentin, Peay, and Jermaine Taylor from the center back conversation, leaving the team with Anthony Manning and somebody not yet signed to the roster -- likely 3rd round draftee Trevor Morley.
Looking further up the field, the Timbers start to have more choices for who to play. Jack Jewsbury and Ben Zemanski seem like the most likely pairing in the center of the pitch, with Jewsbury staying at home in front of the back line and Zemanski roaming further forward. Nick Besler will likely see some time late in the match, coming in for Jewsbury.
After sitting out a good chunk of the Timbers' time in Tucson due to injury, Grabavoy should get another crack at masterminding the Timbers attack in this one. While he came in late against Minnesota and lined up on the wing, Grabavoy's strongest position is in the center of the pitch and this match should give him the opportunity to show off that skill set.
So far this preseason the left wing has belonged to rookie Ben Polk when the Timbers' second group is on the pitch and there is no reason to think that someone else will supplant him. Barring a surprise appearance from someone with T2, this should be another chance for Polk to impress and stake his place on the periphery of the first team.
Neco Brett has put in several impressive shifts out wide on the right for the Timbers so far this preseason, including making a substitute appearance on Sunday, and he should line up there again tomorrow. With the reported collapse of the Timbers' Mystery Winger deal, Brett has a better chance than ever to earn a place in the Timbers' 18 where wing depth is a prized commodity.
The center forward spot should be fairly straightforward in this one: Jack McInerney will step in at the top of the Timbers' formation and look to continue his successful preseason. McInerney did see the pitch late in Sunday's match and will likely no go the distance in this one, making youngster Michael Seaton the player most likely to step in and finish out the match.