The Portland Timbers get to take part in two of their seemingly annual traditions today: squaring off against MLS competition in the early rounds of the U.S. Open Cup and playing the San Jose Earthquakes in back to back matches.
Coming off the side's long break for the group stage of the Copa America, the Timbers are an enigma. Caleb Porter has told the press that the team could run out as many as seventeen players between tonight's match and Saturday's
home away fixture against Real Salt Lake. Additionally, the Timbers are getting a number of players healthy after long injury layoffs, including Alvas Powell and Darren Mattocks; two players who were first team regulars earlier in the season.
Starting from the back there are several changes that the Timbers seem likely to make. On the back line, Taylor Peay and Chris Klute seem likely to get minutes, particularly with the return of Powell from injury and the impending arrival of Jermaine Taylor following Jamaica's poor Copa America showing.
In the midfield the Timbers seem likely to keep the central pairing of Diego Chara and Diego Valeri on the pitch, but could also run out any combination of Ned Grabavoy, Jack Jewsbury, and Ben Zemanski in support of that pair. Additionally, the Timbers will almost certainly play Dairon Asprilla out on the wing as he is suspended for Saturday's match against RSL. Who will be paired up with the young Colombian, however, remains in question. Lucas Melano or Jack Barmby are both strong possibilities, as is Grabavoy if he is not included in the Timbers' central trio, but even players like T2's Kharlton Belmar are a possibility out wide with the Timbers' currently unsettled situation on the flanks.
The top of the Timbers' formation remains the most consistent spot for the side, with the duo of Fanendo Adi and Jack McInerney the main prospects at striker. For this one it seems likely that McInerney will get the run out with Adi reclaiming his starting spot over the weekend.
Watch it on: Streaming on Timbers.com
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PT at Providence Park in Portland, OR