The Rose City Invitational continues today as the Vancouver Whitecaps take on Real Salt Lake and then the Portland Timbers host MLS newcomers Minnesota United in the main event of the night. After a draw in Thursday’s match against RSL, including a red card to Diego Chara prompted by the use of video assists review, the Timbers will be hoping to start to build some momentum today with some strong play from their second unit.
Where Thursday featured most of the Timbers’ top XI going 60 minutes before being substituted, today’s match will feature the team’s reserves, giving them a 60 minute run out before bringing in the regular starters.
Unlike the Timbers’ top XI, this group will likely have more of a patchwork feel to it as the side makes due without Gbenga Arokoyo and Roy Miller at center back, who are unavailable to due injury and loan, respectively. Those losses will leave the Timbers with a makeshift back line, playing Chance Myers and Zarek Valentin at full back, and Rennico Clarke and trialist Jhamir Ordain at center back in front of Jeff Attinella.
Alternatively, the team could run out Amobi Okugo at center back, rather than at his likely holding midfield position, but that would force structural changes for the Timbers throughout their formation.
If the Timbers try to stay in something resembling the first team’s 4-5-1, then Okugo will likely be stationed in the center of the midfield in the No. 6 role alongside Ben Zemanski’s No. 8. In front of them will likely be Victor Arboleda, Jack Barmby, and Dairon Asprilla in the attacking midfield.
Up front, the Timbers should be getting Fanendo Adi back into the rotation after he missed Thursday’s match with a knock, meaning that Darren Mattocks will likely be moved into this second group and could potentially get his second start at center forward of the tournament. More likely, however, is that the Timbers will play Jack McInerney alone up top for the majority of the match, giving Mattocks some rest before Wednesday’s match against Vancouver.
After playing their part of Thursday’s match a man down from start to finish it will be important for this group to show well against Adrian Heath’s Minnesota side. Places on the bench — and potentially even on the roster — are on the line in this match as the Timbers look to see where their second group stands. McInerney in particular will need to have a good showing as rumors have him in the shop window for the Timbers and some good showings from him could help him land in a more advantageous situation.
Watch it on: Streaming on Timbers.com
When: Sunday, February 12th at 5:00 p.m. PT
Where: Providence Park in Portland, OR
Portland Timbers: Finished in 7th place in the Western Conference in 2016
Minnesota United: Finished in 8th place in the NASL in 2016
Don’t forget, this is a double header with Real Salt Lake vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps starting at 2:30 p.m.