After four long months, it is finally time for the Portland Timbers to get back on the pitch and play a meaningful match.
The Timbers open the 2017 MLS season today, hosting new expansion side Minnesota United FC at Providence Park. The Timbers return eight starters from last season, but will sport a new look as they take on the Loons, bringing a possession-oriented style to the pitch after briefly moving away from the “Porterball” of old.
Today’s match sees the Timbers coming into the season fit and healthy and ready to challenge for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Although the side are still lacking a center back or two with Gbenga Arokoyo out due to injury and Roy Miller yet to arrive from Saprissa, the Timbers look like one of the more stacked attacking teams in the league thanks to new arrivals like Designated Player Sebastian Blanco.
Match Preview: “The second objective for the Timbers attack will be to probe with possession and find the holes that they can exploit in the opposition defense. It is no mistake that the Timbers scored twice in quick succession down the left against the Vancouver Whitecaps, with Darlington Nagbe drawing players in before feeding Vytas down the line, and the Timbers will need to similarly find a weakness in Minnesota’s shape.”
Preview Interview: “The real strength of the United roster is in its consistent quality. While it’s true the team lacks a big dollar DP, we don’t really need one yet. We have a number of players on the roster already that would normally qualify as a DP-level player if we hadn’t bought down their contract with our abundant TAM.”
Watch it on: FOX Sports 1
When: Friday, March 3rd at 6:30 p.m. PT (although expect kickoff to come closer to 7:00)
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