Welcome to your match thread for a Sunday afternoon match-up between Orlando City (2-1-1, 7 points) and the Portland Timbers (1-1-2, 5 points) at Providence Park. It’s the only scheduled meeting between the cross-conference opponents this season and the first time the teams have met since the 2020 MLS is Back Tournament final.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
The Lions are 3-1-1 against the Timbers in the regular season since joining Major League Soccer and 3-2-1 in all competitions. The teams last met for a trophy in the championship match of the MLS is Back Tournament, where the Timbers were successful on two set pieces in a 2-1 win over the Lions. Center backs Larrys Mabiala and Dario Zuparic got on the end of those set pieces to score and Mauricio Pereyra put one in the net for Orlando on a wasteful night by the Lions, who put only one of their 14 shots on frame against the Timbers’ low block defensive formation.
The most recent regular-season meeting came on July 18, 2019 at Providence Park, with a largely second-choice Orlando lineup playing to a 1-1 draw against a mainly full-strength Portland side. The Lions were out-shot 26-2 but managed the road point anyway, thanks to a Santiago Patino goal that was offset by a late Jeremy Ebobisse equalizer.
The last time the teams met in Orlando saw Orlando City rally 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 Lions’ only regular-season loss in the series came at Providence Park in 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 in 2018. 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.
Orlando City is playing its second consecutive west coast match after last Saturday’s 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy. Facundo Torres’ first MLS goal provided the win for the Lions in only their second win in the Pacific Time Zone — the team’s first since that 2015 victory in Portland. The Lions are 1-0-1 on the road in 2022 and should be 2-0-0 if not for the erroneously chalked off goal in Chicago.
The Timbers were in Frisco, TX last weekend and suffered their first loss of 2022, but it was a decidedly lopsided one, as FC Dallas won 4-1 behind Jesus Ferreira’s hat trick and assist. That was a surprising result given Portland’s impressive start despite a rash of key injuries. Portland opened the season with draws against presumed MLS Cup contenders New England and LAFC and posted a 1-0 win over an Austin side that had scored 10 goals in its first two games of the year. The Timbers are 1-0-1 at home.
Valeri may no longer be with the Timbers, but Portland still has a talented midfield that can create chances quickly. Diego Chara’s crunching tackles can win the team the ball back and ignite the offense for play makers like his brother Yimmi and Designated Player Sebastian Blanco, who is returning from injury after missing the start of the season.
Orlando may be forced to sit in a low block and try to grind out a result in Portland like it did in Los Angeles last week. Part of the reason for that is the absence of Designated Player Torres to international duty. The problem with that strategy is that defensive midfielder Sebas Mendez and starting goalkeeper Pedro Gallese are also away with their national teams, so it could be problematic to concede too much possession to the Timbers.
“[Portland is] a rival that we remember with our first final in 2020 when we played them in the MLS is Back Tournament, now giving us the opportunity to go to their place on a turf field, which is not a minor detail,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said at his pre-match press conference. “It’s something that we have been preparing the group on during the week, a team that already had a difficult result in their last game and we’re ready.”
Aside from the three players gone on international duty, the Lions’ availability report is clean. The Timbers will be without Felipe Mora (knee surgery), Tega Ikoba (abdominal), and Bill Tuiloma (international duty), while Eryk Williamson (knee) and Marvin Loría (ankle) are questionable.
Mandatory Match Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides more info about the Timbers from Sam Svilar of SBNation’s Portland blog, Stumptown Footy.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and our score predictions and we chatted with Sam Svilar about what we can expect from Portland.
- Our David Rohe provided his three keys to an Orlando City victory in this match.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Mason Stajduhar.
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Junior Urso.
Attacking Midfielders: Benji Michel, Mauricio Pereyra, Tesho Akindele.
Forward: Alexandre Pato.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Michael Halliday, Kyle Smith, Rodrigo Schlegel, Thomas Williams, Joey DeZart, Andres Perea, Silvester van der Water, Ercan Kara.
Portland Timbers (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Aljaz Ivacic.
Defenders: Claudio Bravo, Zac McGraw, Dario Zuparic, Josecarlos Van Rankin.
Defensive Midfielders: Cristhian Paredes, Diego Chara.
Attacking Midfielders: Dairon Asprilla, Santiago Moreno, Yimmi Chara.
Forward: Jaroslaw Niezgoda.
Bench: David Bingham, Larrys Mabiala, Justin Rasmussin, Pablo Bonilla, George Fochive, Blake Bodily, David Ayala, Sebastian Blanco, Eryk Williamson,
REF: Marcos DeOliveira.
AR1: Jeremy Hanson.
AR2: Adam Wienckowski.
4TH: JRamy Touchan
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic.
AVAR: Fabio Tovar.
How to Watch
Match Time: 4 p.m.
Venue: Providence Park — Portland, OR.
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: WatchESPN, ESPNDeportes+, FuboTV.
Enjoy the match! Go City!
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