After eight games away from the friendly confines of Providence Park, things have been looking up for the Timbers. A pair of wins over Eastern Conference sides Columbus Crew SC and Toronto FC, gritty performances from the team’s veterans, and the rise of a trio of youngsters in Bill Tuiloma, Cristhian Paredes, and Jeremy Ebobisse have all combined to raise spirits in the Rose City as the Timbers finish out their final month away from home before the reopening of Providence Park.
Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, also started the season off in trouble, but have also managed to put at least some of their issues behind them with two wins in their last three matches after taking only one win in their first six. Stylistically, Real remain similar to the 2018 side that the Timbers dismantled twice in their last two matches of the season, but there have been a number of changes to head coach Mike Petke’s side, including the arrival of Liberian designated player Sam Johnson — a rangy and tenacious center forward — and the return of Damir Kreilach from the top of the formation back to the center of the pitch alongside Kyle Beckerman.
While the wins against Eastern Conference opposition were both gratifying and important, the Timbers need to start taking points off of Western Conference teams and, while a solid performance in a loss would feel like a continuation of the Timbers’ upward trend, the side need to show that they are better than the pack of Western Conference teams that are clustered around the playoff line after the first quarter of the 2019 season; to do that they will need to continue their run of form with a draw or a win.
Storylines: “The team seems to be clicking and it looks like Gio has settled on a back four of Jorge Moreira, Larrys Mabiala, Bill Tuiloma and Zarek Valentin. I think this back four is working well together and no reason to screw that up either.”
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, May 4th at 6:00 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 2-5-1, 11th place in the Western Conference, won 2-1 at Toronto FC
Real Salt Lake: 3-5-1, 7th place in the Western Conference, lost 2-1 at LA Galaxy