The Portland Timbers schedule to close out the season is a difficult one and it starts with today’s road match against league leaders Toronto FC. The Reds are three points clear at the top of the table and hold an unbeaten record at BMO Field where they will host the Timbers this afternoon.
For their part, the Timbers are looking to continue a current three game unbeaten run and maintain their spot above the red line in the Western Conference. To do that they will need to either take all three points home from Toronto or hope for friendly results from the respective road matches of the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes this weekend.
Storylines: “As mentioned above, choke off the middle of the pitch and TFC are going to have a hell of a time attacking. They like to come at you through the midfield with short passes and Michael Bradley spraying the ball wherever he wants. One thing I noticed with DCU is that they pressed on Bradley hard - forcing him to rush his passes and not get a full look at the pitch in front of him.”
Timbers Preview Interview: “The major difference has been that Toronto didn't really figure themselves out until the very last game of the 2016 regular season, when they switched to a 3-5-2 formation and everything just clicked. That was borne out of the fact that neither Eriq Zavaleta nor Nick Hagglund was particularly convincing as Drew Moor's partner in a back four, but they both excelled either side of him in a back three. Finally getting the defence right had a whole host of knock-on effects further forward that would take a long time to go into here.”
Toronto Preview Interview: “Second, Sebastian Blanco has started to figure out MLS. After a workmanlike but generally uninspiring start to the season, Blanco has found his groove recently and has chipped in three goals and three assists in his last six games, taking him to five and six respectively on the season. Blanco was never expected to put up gaudy numbers but if he can continue to contribute at that rate while opening things up for the likes of Valeri and Nagbe, then the Timbers' attack will be all the harder to shut down.”
Make your match predictions over at the Rose City Forecast.
Watch it on: ROOT Sports
Where: BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
When: Saturday, August 12th at 3:00 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 9-8-7, 5th place in the Western Conference, 3-1 home win over LA Galaxy
Toronto FC: 12-3-8, 1st place in the Eastern Conference, 1-1 draw at D.C. United