After a week’s worth of friendly results, another opportunity for the Portland Timbers to move up the Western Conference table has presented itself. If the Timbers can take all three points in today’s match against struggling Eastern Conference side D.C. United, they could end the weekend as high as third place in the Western Conference.
Having missed out on two golden opportunities to move up the standings against Atlanta United and the Seattle Sounders, the Timbers have to grind their way up the table instead and have done so since those two notable failures. Today’s match against D.C. will be no different as the Timbers face off against a side typified by their stout defense — the third best goals against in the East — and troubles in the attack — the third worst goals for in the East.
Breaking down this D.C. side will not be easy. They boast a lineup full of players committed to putting in a strong defensive showing and making life difficult for their opponents. In the attack, despite their troubles finding the back of the net this year, they have several players capable of a moment of magic if they can catch their opponents sleeping; English legend Wayne Rooney, freshly returned from suspension for a forearm to an opponent’s head, comes to mind.
This match marks the first of five games for the Timbers all crammed into the next fifteen days and they will need to start that run off on the right foot. Thankfully, after two games with a significant number of players unavailable due to injuries and other absences, some reinforcements are starting to return for the Timbers. Andres Flores and Cristhian Paredes are both set to return from international duty with today’s match, while a number of the Timbers’ injured players are nearing availability again. While the team’s center back corps is still significantly depleted, they could have some defensive depth on the bench for the first time in two weeks with Zarek Valentin and Marco Farfan potentially set to return from injury layoffs.
Storylines: “Bill Hamid is a former Goalkeeper of the Year and has been a stalwart in net for D.C. United the past eight years. He’s registered 10 clean sheets so far this season, and he has a goals-against average of 1.28 and has made 114 saves this season. He’s a tough nut to crack, so the Timbers will have their work cut out for them with Hamid in the net.”
Stop by the Rose City Forecast to make your predictions about today’s match.
Watch it on: ESPN
Where: Providence Park in Portland, OR
When: Sunday, September 15th at 12:30 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 13-11-4, 6th place in the Western Conference, won 2-1 vs. Sporting Kansas City
D.C. United: 11-10-9, 5th place in the Eastern Conference, won 3-0 at Montreal Impact