The final games of the regular season are winding down and the Portland Timbers are in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Western Conference. Now, with three matches to go, the Timbers are headed east to take on Real Salt Lake in the first match of a home and home series that will shape the playoff hopes of both sides.
The Timbers come into today’s match winless in their last two overall, but having gone without three points on the road in their last six away from Providence Park. In that span, the Timbers have taken only two points from road matches, getting outscored 15-4 in the process. Naturally, when compared to Real Salt Lake’s best-in-the-Western-Conference home record, there is reason to worry about the Timbers’ ability to bring home a point or three this weekend.
Even more worrying is that the Timbers will likely by without defensive stalwarts Jeff Attinella and Alvas Powell due to injury, and Liam Ridgewell due to suspension. Facing off against the energetic and sometimes high-scoring attack of RSL, the Timbers will need committed defensive performances across the board if they want to keep control of this match. This could work to the Timbers favor, however, as the side saw their best performances of the year come when putting defense above all else and, while Giovanni Savarese has done some tinkering for much of the second half of the season, now seems like the perfect time to decide on what works and stick with it.
Storylines: “Only three teams in the West can boast double-digit wins at home: Minnesota United (10-4-1), Portland Timbers (10-2-4), and Real Salt Lake (10-14). So to say that RSL are strong at home would be a wee bit of an understatement. Mike Petke and Real Salt Lake have control of their destiny as the season winds down.”
Stop by the Rose City Forecast to make your predictions about today’s match.
Watch it on: ROOT Sports
Where: Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT
When: Saturday, October 6th at 6:30 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 13-9-9, 4th place in the Western Conference, drew FC Dallas 1-1
Real Salt Lake: 13-11-7, 6th place in the Western Conference, drew 1-1 at Sporting Kansas City