Scouting the Opposition: Portland Timbers
- Updated: March 21, 2012
(Editor’s note: Prior to each Revolution match, New England Soccer Today will invite a reporter who covers the Revolution’s upcoming opponent to provide greater insight on what to expect on gameday.)
This week, Kelly McLain from Timbers Insider was kind enough to share his thoughts on the state of the Portland Timbers and what the Revolution can expect when they face them at Gillette Stadium for Saturday afternoon’s game.
Although it may be early, what is Portland’s form through its first two games? What were some things that Portland accomplished during last week’s 1-1 draw to Dallas?
Kelly: Starting games slow (going behind 0-1 in both so far) but turning things on in the second half. Biggest thing against Dallas was coming back from the 1-0 deficit to earn a draw on the road. Portland struggled on the road last season, particularly in the beginning of the year, so the question is whether or not they can get results away from home. It’s nice that they have recovered in their first two matches, but they can’t continue to have slow starts and let other teams get up on them.
What is their likely starting 11 on Saturday?
Lovel Palmer, Hanyer Mosquera, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace
Kalif Alhassan, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Eric Alexander
Kris Boyd, Darlington Nagbe
Are there any key injuries affecting the Timbers?
Not really. Most of the injuries are to backup/depth guys.
Although it may be too early to tell, what things have the Timbers done particularly well so far this season? Things that they still need to improve upon?
They’ve been reasonably solid defensively, allowing one goal per game. They’ve given up just 11 shots through the first two matches with their opponents getting a mere 5 on frame.
Improvements need to be made in the team’s energy to start the match. They’ve been lackluster during both first halves.
Which Timbers players should fans keep an eye on Saturday?
Kalif Alhassan can be an electric player on the wing, and Boyd is always a threat, lurking in and around the 18-yard box. But pay close attention to midfielder Franck Songo’o, who Head Coach John Spencer says may get some minutes off the bench. The former Barcelona youth academy product is coming back from a knee sprain and time spent abroad securing his visa. Simply put, he’s the real deal. He’s flown under the radar a bit since he didn’t play during the team’s pre-season tournament at JELD-WEN Field, but the word is going to get out quickly once he gets match fit and starts seeing some minutes.
Kelly McLain’s coverage of the Portland Timbers can be seen at timbersinsider.com. Follow Kelly on twitter @TimbersInsider.