It is time.
After much too long, the offseason and the preseason are over and now it is just the season. The regular season.
The Portland Timbers take on Real Salt Lake today in a match that pits the Timbers against a team that have become their rivals not through hard tackling, or off the ball antics, or the misguided actions of a few fans, but instead through the quality of their play.
With injuries jeopardizing the start of the season, the Timbers will have an opportunity to show their character and their quality in today's season opener.
Match Preview: "Strangely for the Timbers, the potential step back in the midfield has been accompanied by a solid step forward in the team's defense. While the Timbers' defense improved greatly over the course of last season as Jorge Villafana returned from injury, Liam Ridgewell joined the team, and Alvas Powell made the transition from "young man" to "the man", the team looks poised to continue improving with the addition of Nat Borchers and Adam Kwarasey to the back five."
Preview Interview: "Even Kyle Beckerman has gone as far as to say this is a new chapter for Salt Lake. For that reason, he turned down a U.S. Men's National Team call-up to stick around and help the new players integrate with the system and with the rest of the team. Change does not go over well with Utah sports fans, and there are definitely arguments to be made for RSL possibly being better had those players been able to stay, but I am of the opinion that this is a high risk high reward situation in which RSL might actually have a stronger starting XI."
Watch it on: ROOT Sports
Kickoff: 7:30 pm pacific at Providence Park in Portland, OR
Portland Timbers: 0-0-0
Real Salt Lake: 0-0-0