The Portland Timbers only play Toronto FC once each season and as such, alternate where the game will be played. When the two teams last played in Portland, John Spencer was the manager and Jorge Perlaza was a second half substitute. To get an update of what's going in yet another crazy season in Ontario, we got in touch with SB Nation's Toronto blog, Waking the Red. Dave Rowaan answers some questions for us about the Timbers' final Eastern Conference opponent in this 2013 regular season.
1. As usual there has been quite a lot of turnover at Toronto FC. Who have been the most consistent players for the Reds this season?
I would say Matias Laba or Jonathan Osorio but the first is out injured and the second away on national team duty with Canada. With them out of the picture it has to be Joe Bendik who has done will since coming over from Portland and has actually kept Stefan Frei glued to the bench this season. He has been a pleasant surprise and made fans forget about Milos Kocic being traded away. Bendik has kept the scoreline respectable on a number of occasions for TFC and has helped them pick up their few points. On a team that can hardly score goals he has done well to give them a fighting chance most weeks.
2. Like Portland, Toronto will be missing several key players due to international duty. Which call-ups hurt the most and how does the club feel about so many players going away for a friendly?
As a Canadian fan I would rather seen Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Kyle Bekker, and Jonathan Osorio with the national team even if it is just for a pair of friendlies. Canada has a new coach and it will be important that those four young players impress him in this first camp to stake a claim to a place in the team going forward. It will hurt TFC in this game but that is hardly a concern considering the season went down the drain a long time ago.
3. Will the restructuring of the club's front office have an impact on the team this weekend or is that more of a longer term issue?
It doesn't seem that the latest round of turnover is going to have anything to do with the players or the coaching staff so there should be stability coming into this weekend. TFC may even see a bit of a boost as there was speculation that some of the players were becoming unhappy with Kevin Payne and some of the negative things he had to say about the roster. Add that to some new players getting a first shot in the lineup and it could give the team a needed boost for the game.
Bonus - Any injuries or suspensions worth noting?
Matias Laba and Danny Koevermans are both out injured so that is both of the team's Designated Players likely out for the season.
Expected Starting XI?
GK - Joe Bendik
D - Jonas Elmer, Gale Agbossoumonde, Steven Caldwell, Richard Eckersley
M - Bobby Convey, Jeremy Hall, Darel Russell, Reggie Lambe
F - Andrew Wiedeman, Robert Earnshaw