Red, Green and White: Portland Timbers-Toronto FC Match Preview


Author’s note: Red, White and Green is Playing for 90′s newest column aimed at focusing on the Cascadian (Pacific Northwest) teams. In MLS, three teams – Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver – battle for the Cascadia Cup each year. Red, White, and Green will give a critical eye to Cascadia teams. The column is named Red, White, and Green based on the team colors. Red for the Portland Timbers as they are known as “Rose City”, white for the Vancouver Whitecaps as it is their primary color when they play, and lastly green for the Seattle Sounders as they wear “Rave Green” for most matches, home or away.

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Coming off an impressive 6-0 win against Alpha United in CONCACAF Champions League play this past Tuesday night, the Portland Timbers travel to BMO Field to take on Toronto FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00pm EST and can be seen on MLS Live and has been voted as the stream of the week.

Toronto currently sits three points out of the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with six games left to play. Portland meanwhile is two points clear of sixth place in the Western Conference and will be looking to keep the good vibes going in their final five matches of the season.

In their last two matches, one league and CCL, the Timbers have scored nine goals while conceding zero. Granted six of those came against a team that had nothing left to play for in the CCL, but regardless its a good sign to see Portland scoring all of these goals.

This is the only meeting between the two clubs this year and will be the fifth in the two clubs brief history. Both clubs own a win in the series to go along with two ties. Portland has never won at BMO field, but I have a feeling that will change after this one is all said and done.

Aug 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri (8) dribbles the ball during the first half against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The player to watch for me in this game will be Diego Valeri. Valeri is tied for the team lead in goals with Maximiliano Urruti at 9 a piece. Valeri leads the team in assist with 14, which is also good for second place in the league. Besides maybe Darlington Nagbe, I don’t see anyone else more important to the Timbers.

I will be curious to see if goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts can record a clean sheet against a team that does not have Mauro Rosales on said team. Ricketts has four clean sheets this year, two against Chivas USA and two against Vancouver Whitecaps.

Prediction: It won’t be pretty but the Timbers will somehow gut it out and win this one late with a 2-1 victory.