Welcome to your match thread for today’s match-up between Orlando City (1-2-1, 4 points) and the Portland Timbers (0-2-2, 2 points) at Orlando City Stadium. It’s the only scheduled meeting between the cross-conference opponents this season and the first time playing it in Orlando since 2016.
The Lions won the inaugural MLS meeting in 2015 at Providence Park, 2-0, with Cyle Larin scoring the first of his league rookie record 17 goals, chesting home a wicked cross from Kevin Molino. Kaká scored the second goal from the spot to provide the final margin after Carlos Rivas drew the first penalty in Orlando City’s MLS history. In 2016, Orlando City thumped the defending MLS champions, 4-1, with four different Lions scoring — Seb Hines, Kaká, Molino, and Brek Shea. Joe Bendik stopped a Fanendo Adi penalty kick but Jack McInerney’s late goal spoiled the shutout.
Last season, the Lions went to Providence Park and ended up getting two men sent off on the way to a 3-0 loss to Portland. It was Orlando’s first loss against the Timbers and goals from Diego Valeri (twice) and Darren Mattocks got Timber Joey’s chainsaw heated up. Jonathan Spector got sent off for two yellow cards and PC saw a straight red.
Portland will be playing its fifth consecutive match on the road to start the season. After a rough start, the Timbers have earned road draws in their last two matches and are playing better under new coach Giovanni Savarese.
The Lions will need to deal with the two Diegos to get a result against Portland. Valeri is one of the most creative and dangerous players in Major League Soccer, and slowing him down will require a big game from the back line, the defensive midfield, and goalkeeper Joe Bendik. On the other end of the pitch, Orlando City will have to find ways around midfield stopper Diego Chara. The Colombian brings a lot of bite to Portland’s midfield with heavy challenges, good breakup play, and quick turnovers that can lead to offensive chances.
But there are other threats on the Timbers, including striker Fanendo Adi and midfielder Sebastian Blanco — the team’s two Designated Players aside from Valeri. The former is a clinical finisher with good size and pace. The latter is another creative piece who plays well off of Valeri with dangerous movement and clever passes.
The Timbers this year try to play a similar high-pressing style the Lions saw from the New York Red Bulls last weekend. Hopefully they learned a few lessons in that match to deal with the Portland press.
Orlando has pretty much everyone back at training although perhaps Stefano Pinho (ankle) will get another week to heal up. Chris Schuler trained off to the side all week, recovering from an undisclosed injury. Jonathan Spector (concussion) has cleared league protocol and should be good to go. We may even actually see Uri Rosell in the 18 this week. Portland’s injury report is a short one, listing Roy Miller (Achilles), and David Guzman (knee) out and Alvas Powell (thigh) as questionable.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more about the Timbers from Will Conwell of SB Nation’s Portland blog, Stumptown Footy.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and more predictions, plus we talked to Orlando City Assistant Coach Miles Joseph.
- Alek Pierce writes that the winner of this match could find a springboard to a better run of form.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik.
Defenders: Mohamed El-Munir,Jonathan Spector, Lamine Sané, Scott Sutter.
Defensive Midfielders: Will Johnson, Yoshimar Yotun.
Attacking Midfielders: Justin Meram, Sacha Kljestan, Josué Colmán.
Forward: Dom Dwyer.
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., RJ Allen, Amro Tarek, Dillon Powers, Cristian Higuita, Chris Mueller, Stefano Pinho.
Portland Timbers (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Jake Gleeson.
Defenders: Zarek Valentin. Bill Tuiloma, Larrys Mabiala, Alvas Powell.
Defensive Midfielders: Diego Chara, Christhian Paredes.
Attacking Midfielders: Andy Polo, Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco.
Forward: Samuel Armenteros
Bench: Jeff Attinella, Julio Cascante, Marco Farfan, Andres Flores, Dairon Asprilla. Fanendo Adi. Lawrence Olum,
Ref: Baldomero Toledo.
AR1: Adam Garner.
AR2: Eduardo Mariscal.
4th: Nima Saghafi.
VAR: Kevin Stott.
How to Watch
Match Time: 4 p.m. ET.
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes+, MLS Live (out of market).
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