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A View from the Woods: Q&A about the Portland Timbers with Stumptown Footy

We talked to Stumptown Footy’s editor, Eddy Prugh, to learn more about Philadelphia’s semifinal opponent

MLS: Portland Timbers at Philadelphia Union Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

We were able to chat with Eddy Prugh over at fellow SB Nation site Stumptown Footy, to get some insight into the Timbers team the Union will face in the semifinals.

Be sure to check out their page as well for a Philadelphia Union Q&A!

How have you felt about this Timbers team since the MLS is back Tournament began? What were the expectations going into the tournament?

Since the tournament began I’ve been a little bit shocked at how well the Timbers have performed. It’s a team with a lot of experience but nobody has been in a position quite like the one we’re in at the moment. The first two games in league action before the shutdown happened were not the greatest from us so if that was the level we were expecting to see we’ve had a serious turnaround.

The Timbers dominated the stat line against Cincinnati, but needed PKs to win. Next game they have less than 40% possession, but advance with an impressive 3-1 win against NYCFC. What is their preferred style? Possession or Counterattacking?

We’ve had less possession than the opposition in all but two games so far in the tournament but it would be quite a stretch to say that we’re a counter-attacking team. We do have the ability to break from the back with the pace of Yimmi and Ebobisse but we’re most dangerous when we advance through Blanco and Valeri meaning we’ve either won possession high up the field or worked the ball forward.

Who has been the Timbers MVP in the tournament so far? Who is the player to watch out for?

So far our MVP has to be Sebastian Blanco who is looking as sharp as he ever has for the Timbers. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Blanco has established himself as one of the best players in the league over the past three seasons and with 2 goals and 5 assists so far, he’s really feeling it in the Orlando heat. But as for an interesting number to watch out for that would have to be our new DP Jaroslaw Niezgoda. With 2 goals and an assist in his first 170 minutes of action for the club, it’s a shame we didn’t get to see what the Polish striker’s production might have been over a whole season.

Which Union player do you think will give the Timbers trouble in the semifinals game?

The Union have several potent attacking threats too and the experience of players like Bedoya, Ilisinho and your own Polish striker Przybylko is top level for MLS but I’m most excited to see the young young’n, Brenden Aaronson. His assist against Kansas City was outstanding. A very special young player that you all should be very proud to have produced!

Predicted Timbers lineup, and final score

Giovani Savarese has given youth a chance so far but I think we might go straight to the big guns and put out a lineup that looks something like this: Clark-Duvall-Mabiala-Zuparic-Villafana-Chara-Williamson-Valeri-Chara-Blanco-Ebobisse (but we’ll see big minutes from Niezgoda too). I’m gonna say that there will be goals but the Timbers gotta come out on top! 3-2

Special thanks again to Stumptown Footy!