The Portland Timbers are on the road again, this time heading to the East Coast to take on the Montreal Impact. Despite playing their third road match in four games, the Timbers have a good chance to get a point or more against a Montreal team that is dead last in the Eastern Conference.
A win for the Timbers would break a three game skid for the side and improve the Timbers to as high as second place in the West coming out of the weekend, while a result for Montreal could kick-start the stalled out Impact and see them race up toward the red line in the East.
Coming in to this match, it appears that the Timbers are getting healthy as Darlington Nagbe has travelled with the team to Montreal and could make his return after missing the last two games with a hamstring issue. Add to that a potential uptick in form for Diego Valeri after his uneventful return to play last weekend and the Timbers could be primed for a strong performance.
To get the most out of their stars, however, the Timbers will want to put the Montreal back line under pressure. After two fantastic seasons for the Impact, Laurent Ciman is currently suffering through a significant downtick in form this year and his supporting cast have not been able to step up consistently. As a result, when teams have been able to put the Impact on the back foot — whether that is by breaking quickly down the pitch or through simple movement in the box — goals have come.
There are, however, signs that the Impact might be on the verge of getting things together, particularly in the attack where Ignacio Piatti is an ever-present threat. While the Impact are below average for goals scored in the East, the chances have been coming for the Impact in recent matches.
Of particular worry for the Timbers is the Impact full back’s tendency to hit early balls toward the back post, where the side generally have often been able to connect for a shot. This will make life especially difficult for any side, like the Timbers, that like to commit their full backs forward into the attack and sometimes leave gaps at the back as a result.
Watch it on: ROOT Sports
When: Saturday, May 20th at 12:00 p.m. PT
Where: Stade Saputo in Montreal, Canada
Portland Timbers: 5-3-3, 4th place in the Western Conference, 1-1 home draw against Atlanta United
Montreal Impact: 2-4-4, 11th place in the Eastern Conference, 3-2 home loss against Columbus Crew SC