The Portland Timbers are back below the red line, but with a game in hand on most of the league today’s match against the Chicago Fire is their chance to climb back into a playoff berth.
On short rest following last weekend’s 3-1 win over the struggling Vancouver Whitecaps, the Timbers face a different sort of challenge in the Fire. Although tonight’s visitors sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, the Fire have reached the point in their season where it is do or die. With a talented but underperforming squad, the Fire are just three points out of the playoffs in the East and will be hoping to make up that difference against the Timbers.
For the Timbers, the big question on the night is about Brian Fernandez: will the Argentine striker make his return to the XI — or even the 18 — after being given the night off against Vancouver? The Timbers have struggled to use Fernandez against teams that want to sit low and draw them out and there is a strong possibility that the Fire will take that same approach. To that end, if Fernandez is back in the XI the Timbers will need to find a way to get the most out of him, rather than letting the energetic striker run himself into the ground to little result.
Storylines: “Paunovic likes his team to sit back and hit on the counter. When they do, it’ll most likely be down the left side of the pitch. While they’re good on the counter, though, they can’t defend them if their lives depended on it.”
Stop by the Rose City Forecast to make your predictions about tonight’s match.
Watch it on: ROOT Sports
Where: Providence Park in Portland, OR
When: Wednesday, August 14th at 8:00 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 10-9-4, 8th place in the Western Conference, won 3-1 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Chicago Fire: 7-10-9, 10th place in the Eastern Conference, won 3-2 vs. Montreal Impact