The Portland Timbers have headed east to take on Minnesota United this afternoon in their first of two matches in four days against the rising Western Conference side. This afternoon’s match will come in league play as the Timbers try to fight their way back above the playoff line following a Real Salt Lake win on Saturday that bumped them back into eighth place.
The Timbers will get some reinforcements for today’s match with the return of Diego Chara who was suspended for last weekend’s 4-0 thrashing of the LA Galaxy and missed most of the week while participating in the 2019 MLS All-Star Game where he made his first appearance since joining the Timbers in 2011.
Chara’s return will certainly be helpful for the Timbers as they look to face off against a Minnesota side that have lost only once at home this year. Still, it will need to be a comprehensive effort from the Timbers to slow down the Loons. In 2019 Minnesota have had fifteen different players score a goal and thirteen register an assist, spreading their attack — the 4th most prolific the West this year — throughout the side.
There are several undeniable keys that the Timbers will need to address: midfielder Jan Gregus will play defense splitting passes that Steve Clark and company will need to aggressively deal with, full back Romain Mettanire will get forward and provide the sort of dangerous service that has seen him lead the league in assists from a defender, and designated player Darwin Quintero will give defenders fits with just about anything he does.
Storylines: “Going into Sunday, both teams are looking to continue their unbeaten runs. Can the Timbers pull out the road win? Or will the Loons show that they’re a playoff contender and take care of business at home to secure another three points?”
Stop by the Rose City Forecast to make your predictions about today’s match.
Watch it on: ESPN
Where: Allianz Field in St. Paul, MN
When: Sunday, August 4th at 1:00 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 9-8-4, 8th place in the Western Conference, won 4-0 vs. LA Galaxy
Minnesota United: 10-7-5, 5th place in the Western Conference, drew 0-0 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps