Game: Portland Timbers vs. Philadelphia Union
Date: Saturday, September 17th
Time: 6:00 PM EDT, 3:00 PM PDT, 10:00 PM GMT
Venue: Providence Park (Portland, Oregon)
Officials: REF: Chris Penso, AR1: Mike Rottersman, AR2: Adam Garner, 4TH: Daniel Radford
Television: The Comcast Network, DirecTV Channel 472
Streaming: MLS Live
All Time Record: The Union have not fared well against Portland in the past, only winning one match in the two club's history dating back to 2011. The one win came at home in July last year where the Union won 3-0. The Union have lost to Portland two times, the opening meeting in 2011 and the opening game of the 2013 season. Aside from that, the Union and Portland have drawn three times.
What the Union will look like: I don't expect to see many changes from the home draw with Montreal. While he has not been playing in superb form, I'm fairly certain CJ Sapong will be starting up top once again for the Union as Charlie Davies has struggled to get minutes even at the end of games as of late. My guess would be he is still not at full health, but our striker options are wearing thin. I don't expect to see any changes in the midfield either, unless Jim Curtin prefers veteran Brian Carroll over Warren Creavalle this weekend, giving Alejandro Bedoya a chance to play more upfield and contribute offensively. I think the back line should stay the same, given that Portland's Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe, Darren Mattocks and Fanendo Adi are all quick offensive forward players, so Josh Yaro should be able to edge out Ken Tribbett for a starting position due to speed. Andre Blake should remain in goal as well.
What the Timbers will look like: The Timbers were able to edge out a win against Real Salt Lake, so I don't think there should be many changes in their lineup from that game (Gleeson; Powell, Steven Tayler, Ridgewell, Andriuskevicius; Chara, Jewsbury; Nagbe, Valeri, Mattocks; Adi).
What to expect: This may very well be the battle of the midfielders. Both sides have incredible talent within their midfield and can be very good when they are working together, or could be dysfunctional and disastrous. I expect to see a lot of pressing from the midfielders of Portland on the back line of the Union, but the Union doing well to clog lanes for Portland and able to counter attack through Bedoya, Pontius and Barnetta. I think this will either end in another draw, or a blowout one way or the other. Its a toss up for me as the Union are set to take on the defending MLS Champions this Saturday.