Welcome to your match thread for a late Thursday night match-up between Orlando City (7-9-4, 25 points) and the Portland Timbers (7-8-3, 24 points) at Providence Park. It’s the only scheduled meeting between the cross-conference opponents this season and the first time playing it in Portland since 2017.
The Lions are 3-1-0 against the Timbers since joining Major League Soccer. The most recent meeting came early last season in a memorable match, as Orlando City rallied with three goals in seven minutes to erase a 2-0 deficit and win, 3-2. Chris Mueller, Sacha Kljestan, and Dom Dwyer scored in the 80th, 82nd, and 87th minutes, respectively, to overcome a hole created by goals from Portland’s Diego Valeri and Bill Tuiloma.
The last time the Lions went to Providence Park is a game they’d rather forget, as they 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 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.
In 2016, Orlando City thumped the defending MLS champions, 4-1, with four different Lions scoring — Seb Hines, Kaká, Kevin Molino, and Brek Shea. Joe Bendik stopped a Fanendo Adi penalty kick but Jack McInerney’s late goal spoiled the shutout. Orlando 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 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.
Portland will be playing only its fifth home match of 2019 after a lengthy road trip to allow for Providence Park renovations to be completed. The Timbers are 2-1-1 at home this year under Giovanni Savarese. Meanwhile, Orlando has been decent away from Exploria Stadium in 2019, posting a 3-4-3 road record thus far. However, the Lions played three matches last week and there’s a good chance some starters stayed home to rest up for Sunday’s match against the Red Bulls.
As is usually the case, 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 Brian Rowe. 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 strikers Brian Fernández and Jeremy Ebobosse and midfielder Sebastian Blanco. Fernández, the team’s newest Designated Player, is a clinical finisher who already has six MLS goals in just seven games (five starts). Blanco is another creative piece who plays well off of Valeri with dangerous movement and clever passes.
The Timbers will likely press high and try to work the Lions hard, knowing the team has played a lot of matches recently and then traveled across the continent. Orlando will likely play their rope-a-dope road style — which was used effectively at home last Wednesday and Saturday — to force the hosts to break them down and try to create off of takeaways or long balls out of the back.
Cristian Higuita (hamstring) and Shane O’Neill (concussion) are listed as out. Joao Moutinho (quad) is off the injured list but James O’Connor isn’t going to rush his left back’s return. Dom Dwyer will miss the match due to a red card suspension. Portland will be without Marco Farfan (left knee) but otherwise might have everyone available. Defenders Larrys Mabiala (left thigh), Modou Jadama (lower leg injury), and Jorge Villafaña (left thigh injury), and goalkeepers Jeff Attinella (right shoulder) and Aljaz Ivacic (back) are all listed as questionable. Defender Julio Cascante is on suspension for a red card.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides more info about the Timbers from Will Conwell of SB Nation’s Portland blog, Stumptown Footy.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and our score predictions.
Orlando City (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Greg Ranjitsingh.
Defenders: Danilo Acosta, Kamal Miller, Alex De John, Kyle Smith.
Midfielders: Dillon Powers, Uri Rosell,l Sacha Kljestan.
Forwards: Benji Michel, Santiago Patino, Robinho.
Bench: Brian Rowe, Adam Grinwis, Joao Moutinho, Will Johnson, Sebas Mendez, Tesho Akindele, Chris Mueller.
Portland Timbers (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Steve Clark.
Defenders: Zarek Valentin, Claude Dielna, Larrys Mabiala, Jorge Moreira,
Defensive Midfielders: Diego Chara, Cristhian Paredes.
Attacking Midfielders: Sebastian Blanco, Diego Valeri, Andy Polo.
Forward: Brian Fernández.
Bench: Kendall McIntosh, Modou Jadama, Bill Tuiloma, Andrés Flores, Renzo Zambrano, Marvin Loria, Jeremy Ebobisse.
Ref: Joe Dickerson.
AR1: Corey Rockwell.
AR2: Micheal Barwegen.
4th: Farhad Dadkho.
VAR: Allen Chapman.
AVAR: Joshua Patlak.
How to Watch
Match Time: 10 p.m. ET.
Venue: Providence Park — Portland, OR.
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes+.
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City’s official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go City!