The Portland Timbers are set to play their fourth game in twelve days as they stay on the road to face off against expansion side Minnesota United tonight. Now in a three-way tie for second place in the Western Conference, and within striking distance of a tie for first, three road points would go a long way toward keeping the Timbers near the top of the pack as they reach the halfway point of the 2017 season.
Coming into this match the Timbers are still without several important players. Captain Liam Ridgewell remains sidelined after going down injured against FC Dallas two weeks ago, forcing Lawrence Olum and Roy Miller into action as the Timbers center back pairing. Regular substitutes Jack Barmby also remains out for this mid week match as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury suffered several weeks ago.
Returning to the Timbers’ 18 for today’s match, meanwhile, are David Guzman and Darren Mattocks. Guzman missed Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids due to a suspension for yellow card accumulation that was delayed while he was called up by the Costa Rican Men’s National Team, while Mattocks is returning from a hamstring injury that will still limit the minutes that he might play against the Loons.
The return of Guzman will have an immediate impact on the Timbers’ approach to this match, pushing Darlington Nagbe back out of the center of the pitch and onto the wing and giving Caleb Porter a difficult decision to make with regard to the fate of Dairon Asprilla, whose form stood out against Dallas and the San Jose Earthquakes before suffering the same regression as the rest of the team over the weekend. The decision will likely not prove too hard, however, and Porter will almost certainly return Asprilla to the bench and bring back the Timbers’ usual attacking group of Nagbe, Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco, and Fanendo Adi. While the Colombian winger could see further time in the XI, allowing one of the Timbers’ first choice attackers to rest ahead of this weekend’s match against the Seattle Sounders, Porter will be looking to get full value — and points — from this match against the Loons.
Watch it on: KPDX
When: Wednesday, June 21st at 5:00 p.m. PT
Where: TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN
Portland Timbers: 7-6-3, 3rd place in the Western Conference, Lost 2-1 at Colorado Rapids
Minnesota United: 4-9-2, 11th place in the Western Conference, Lost 1-0 at Real Salt Lake