Today the Portland Timbers are in Ohio, set to take on Columbus Crew SC as they continue their seemingly ill-fated season-opening road trip. This afternoon’s match marks the first time that the Timbers will face off against Caleb Porter, who is now managing the Crew after his sudden departure from the Timbers and subsequent year out of the professional coaching ranks.
Nonetheless, after several remarkable refereeing decisions and the Timbers’ usual defensive lapses cost the team a point in Dallas last weekend, the Timbers are set to take on a Crew side that have been nearly impossible to break down so far in 2019, giving up just five goals in their opening seven matches of the season — twelve less than the Timbers have in their six games. Porter has the Crew playing the sort of organized and disciplined game that will look immediately familiar to Timbers fans, and will likely cause the Timbers’ struggling attack all sorts of trouble.
While the numbers do not seem to be on the Timbers’ side, there is a glimmer of hope to be found in the team’s embrace of the pragmatic style that put them in position to be denied a point in Dallas to begin with. After more than a month of trying to find a functional style that fits with the personnel available to him, Giovanni Savarese seems to have once again embraced the pragmatic — perhaps giving his side a chance to embrace their roles, remember how to play soccer, and just maybe break that single-point barrier that’s been thwarting the side since the start of the season.
Storylines: “The Caleb Porter Columbus Crew look a lot like the Gregg Berhalter Columbus Crew. One would think that when Porter came in, he would have remade the team to his specifications, but he seems to be going with the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mantra.”
Stop by the Rose City Forecast to make your match predictions.
Watch it on: FOX 12 Plus (KPDX)
Where: MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, OH
When: Saturday, April 20th at 4:30 p.m.
Portland Timbers: 0-5-1, 12th place in the Western Conference, lost 2-1 at FC Dallas
Columbus Crew: 4-2-1, 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, lost 1-0 at Montreal Impact