The Portland Timbers have finally returned to the Rose City and notched their first win of the season, but now they will have to face off against the current top team in Major League Soccer, New York City FC.
While thanks to their early road struggles the Timbers are still in the basement of the Western Conference, above only the Seattle Sounders, NYCFC are unbeaten in seven. The visitors have one of the most potent attacks in the league, lead by Spanish legend David Villa, but can also boast of having one of the league’s stingiest defenses; having only allowed six goals in their seven matches so far this season.
For the Timbers to have a real chance at taking points off of NYCFC, the side will need to put in their best performance of the year to date. And, equally importantly, the Timbers need to stretch that performance over the full ninety minutes. After struggling to close out matches in 2017, the Timbers’ late game curse has continued into 2018 and the side have yet to score in the final fifteen minutes of a match, yet have conceded eight goals in that same timeframe.
The brightest glimmers of hope for the Timbers seem to be the growing form of the side’s attacking group. Sebastian Blanco started the season on fire and has continued to be a serious attacking threat, while Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi both now seem to be up to speed. The Timbers were largely defined by their attacking prowess in 2017, outclassing everyone in the West, and until the side can get their defensive issues sorted they will need to lean on their goalscoring once again to stay competitive.
Make sure to stop by the Rose City Forecast to make your predictions about today’s match.
Watch it on: FOX Sports 1
When: Sunday, April 22nd at 3:00 p.m. PT
Where: Providence Park in Portland, OR
Portland Timbers: 1-3-2, 11th place in the Western Conference, Won 3-2 vs. Minnesota United
New York City FC: 5-0-2, 1st place in the Eastern Conference, Drew 2-2 at Atlanta United