Portland Timbers confirm signing of English winger Jack Barmby from Leicester

The Portland Timbers’ search for a new winger is over. The reigning MLS Cup champions confirmed on Wednesday that Jack Barmby has joined the club from Premier League leaders Leicester City after days of speculation.

The 21-year-old Englishman joined Leicester from Manchester United in 2014, but failed to make a first-team appearance for either club.

He spent time on loan at Notts County earlier this season, racking up a total of six appearances for the English League Two club before returning to Leicester, where he continued to play for the Under-21 squad. He has also spent time on loan at Hartlepool and Rotherham over the past couple of seasons.

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The Timbers revealed on Wednesday that Barmby had signed on loan from Leicester, where his contract is due to expire in less than four months, but the player then took to Twitter to assure supporters that he had signed on a more permanent deal that the short-term loan being reported.

The new Portland star is the son of former Premier League great Nick Barmby, who represented the England national team on 23 occasions. Jack will now hope to forge his way into MLS history with some strong performances for the Timbers.

The Western Conference outfit have been on the search for a new winger since Rodney Wallace departed for Portuguese club FC Arouca back in January and will hope that their new man can fit seamlessly into the side.

Barmby is an exciting left-footed player who can operate on either wing or at left-back. He will hope to force his way into Caleb Porter’s first-team plans immediately but will need to dislodge Lucas Melano or Dairon Asprilla from either wing if he is to earn a regular starting spot.

WATCH: Jack Barmby’s highlight reel (via Rotherham United on YouTube):

Is Jack Barmby a good signing for Portland Timbers? 

– Header photo taken by Plumb Images.

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MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers

Competition: MLS Playoffs (Western Conference Final Second Leg): FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers 

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Sunday, November 29 – 17:00 EST (22:00 GMT)

Match Odds: FC Dallas 10/11 – Draw 13/5 – Portland Timbers 3/1

Match Preview

It’s crunch time in the MLS Cup Playoffs as FC Dallas have to overturn a two goal deficit against Portland Timbers from the first leg of the Western Conference Final after losing 3-1 at Providence Park last weekend.

FC Dallas will be confident of a win on the night as they have won last six home matches, and of course finished top of the Western Conference during the regular season.

However, they have been far too fragile defensively of late. Having conceded six in their last three matches in the playoffs, a clean sheet will be crucial.

FC Dallas’ 2015 MLS record: P37 – W19 – D6 – L12

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Portland are the in-form team of the last four remaining playoff teams, having won their last four away matches in MLS and look in really good shape.

As much as form is essential in the run up to any match, FC Dallas have the capability to score goals and defensively Portland will have to be good.

Portland Timbers’ 2015 record: P38 – W17 – D10 – L11

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They do go to Toyota Stadium with a two goal cushion, and so have a safety net to hang on to, but Dallas have the away goal and that could play into their hands late on.

Either way, this game will be entertaining and should prove to be another thrilling contest.

Team News

FC Dallas are without Rolando Escobar and Bakary Soumare through injury.

Portland Timbers are without Ben Zemanski through injury.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five: W/W/L/W/L

Portland Timbers’ last five: W/W/D/W/W

Key Stat: Portland Timber have won six of their last seven matches in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Darlington Nagbe – The Portland attacking midfielder was the standout performer in the first leg and can turn any game in a flash with his ability.

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Score Prediction

FC Dallas 2-1 Portland Timbers – We’re expecting Portland to progress on the night, but Dallas should win the match. Once again, it is always tough to call MLS Playoff matches and both teams are capable of scoring freely so this should be a great contest.

MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: MLS Playoffs Knockout Round – Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City 

Venue: Providence Park – Thursday, October 29 – 22:00 ET (02:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Portland Timbers 5/6 – Draw  5/2 – Sporting Kansas City 100/30

Match Preview

Portland Timbers face Sporting Kansas City in the Western Conference knockout round on Thursday night in the final game from the opening round of MLS Cup Playoff games.

Separated by just two points in the regular season, Portland come into the game with the worrying stat that they haven’t scored in all three matches with SKC this season hanging over them.

Remarkably, Portland’s home form has been worse than their away form this year. So an away win for SKC is definitely not out of the question.

Portland Timbers’ 2015 MLS Record: P34 – W15 – D8 – L11

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

This will be just Portland’s second MLS Playoff campaign. They made it to the Western Conference finals in 2013 as Sporting Kansas City went on to lift the MLS Cup.

Sporting Kansas City managed to win the last meeting between the sides on October 4 so they have the advantage in that respect.

They come into this game off the back of a 2-1 win over LA Galaxy on Sunday and will hope that a poor second half of the season can be put behind them now they’ve made the playoffs.

Sporting Kansas City’s 2015 MLS Record in MLS: P34 – W14 – D9 – L11

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With just three wins from their last twelve, they are fortunate to have made the postseason and can be thankful for their very good start to the season.

These sides met three times during the regular season, with just one goal being scored over the 270 minutes as two 0-0 draws were followed by a 1-0 SKC win in Portland at the start of October.

Team News

Portland Timbers are without Ben Zemanski who is still recovering from an ACL injury, while Will Johnson is still a doubt with a leg injury.

Sporting Kansas City have four injury concerns. Ike Opara, Roger Espinoza, Seth Sinovic and Amadou Dia are all set to miss out as Peter Vermes may go with an unchanged team to the one that won on Sunday.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ last five: W/L/W/W/W

Sporting Kansas City’s last five: D/W/L/L/W

Key Stat: Portland Timbers haven’t beaten Sporting KC in any of the last four games between the two sides. There has only been a total two goals in those matches.

Key Player: Benny Feilhaber – The USMNT midfielder has been the outstanding player in this SKC squad this season and if they are to progress he will need to play a huge part.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-1 Sporting Kansas City – With the better form, Portland are favourites for this one. Although in a one-off playoff game, anything can happen. Sporting Kansas City will be in good spirits after Sunday’s win over the Galaxy but we’re edging more towards Portland than Kansas City here.

MLS Preview and Prediction: San Jose Earthquakes vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers 

Venue: Avaya Stadium – Sunday, August 2 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: San Jose Earthquakes 7/5 – Draw 5/2 – Portland Timbers 7/4

Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes host Western Conference rivals Portland Timbers on Sunday night as they will be hoping to end a run of four losses on the bounce in MLS.

Having been without star man Chris Wondolowski for the duration of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, San Jose have struggled to cope and need to pick back up quickly to keep playoff hopes alive.

With them now seven points off the playoffs, its a longshot, but in a league where anything can happen, San Jose are still in with a shot.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

San Jose Earthquakes’ 2015 record in MLS: P20 – W7 – D4 – L9

Portland come into the tie with no win in three and have stepped off the gas in recent weeks after an impressive run of form that propelled them into the playoff spots.

After a 1-0 win the reverse fixture last month, Portland will be looking for a repeat of that result to solidify their playoff position as the regular season end draws ever closer.

Portland Timbers’ 2015 record in MLS: P22 – W9 – D5 – L8

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Team News

San Jose Earthquakes are without Innocent Emeghara, Steven Lenhart and Mike Fucito through injury. Clarence Goodson is a doubt with a leg injury. Chris Wondolowski returns after Gold Cup duty with the USMNT.

Portland Timbers will be missing Ben Zemanski who is still out with a serious knee injury. Fanendo Adi could return to the starting lineup after being benched in the 4-1 loss to Dallas.

Key Points

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: W/L/L/L/L

Portland Timbers’ last five: W/W/L/D/L

Key Stat: Portland have won the last three meetings in MLS between the two sides.

Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – ‘Wondo’ is back and extremely influential to the Earthquakes. Especially considering he has a total of nine goals so far this term.

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Score Prediction

San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 Portland Timbers – Both sides are without a win in three and we expect a tight game which neither will want to lose. Score draw seems most likely.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers 

Venue: Sporting Dick’s Goods Park – Saturday, May 30 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: Colorado 11/8 – Draw 11/5 – Portland 2/1

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids play host to the Portland Timbers as both enter the weekend off the back of a midweek match. However, they endured different results as the Rapids lost 1-0 away to the Seattle Sounders and the Timbers were impressive in a 1-0 home win against DC United.

Colorado Rapids will have home comforts to call on, but have failed to be at all convincing thus far, and have a horrible run of only two wins from their last 26 MLS matches.

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Lying bottom of the Western Conference currently, the Rapids have drawn an incredible seven of their 12 matches and are in desperate need of a win here.

Colorado Rapids’ record this season: P12 – W2 – D7 – L3

Portland Timbers, as mentioned before, come into this as the more in-form side after their midweek victory over DC United.

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The victory leaves them just two points off the playoffs but inconsistency is hindering their potential because on paper their squad should easily be making a playoff place.

Portland Timbers’ record this season: P13 – W4 – D4 – L5

Yet to register back-to-back wins, the Timbers could change their fortunes with a win on Saturday night and some may say that they need to, especially with the Rapids just three points behind.

Team News

Colorado Rapids will be without Marcelo Sarvas, Marlon Hairston and Nick LaBrocca who all miss out through injury. Gabriel Torres could play on the right again as Kevin Doyle is expected to play in the number 10 role, with new signing Luis Solignac expected to play as the lone striker.

Portland look set to recall three starters to the side as they were rested for the DC game. Nat Borchers, Fanendo Adi and Jack Jewsbury are all expected to return. Ben Zemanski and Diego Valeri are reportedly out and will miss the tie, while Will Johnson could start his second game in succession after returning from a broken leg in the midweek win.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: D/D/D/W/L

Portland Timbers’ last five: D/W/L/L/W

Key Stat: Portland Timbers have never won away from home against the Colorado Rapids.

Key Player: Darlington Nagbe – Possibly the most frustrating player in MLS, Nagbe can produce magic at times, but failing to deliver regularly leaves many disappointed. He is due a big game and could have it here.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-2 Portland Timbers – The penny may have dropped with the Timbers and they will hope to produce some displays that can fire them into the playoffs. The Rapids have been steady but are not winning enough and may fall short here.

Returning Timbers star thrilled with midweek win over DC

Portland Timbers star Will Johnson was left satisfied with their 1-0 win over DC United on Wednesday night. The Portland star returned after a long time out injured with a broken leg and is now looking to push on following Wednesday’s victory.

Johnson was quick to point out his satisfaction that the Timbers picked up the three points and was even more happy to be back: “Yeah that part was awesome, really really good,” Johnson told The Oregonian.

“I wasn’t always sure it was going to happen. This was a really big game for us, and I tried to play down that it was about me.”

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Johnson was quick to point out that the result was more important than his comeback, but you can’t help but realise that Johnson’s presence directly affected the result. After a long time out, Johnson is back and ready to kick on.

“There’s no setbacks, no muscle injuries, no nothing like that. It’s just wear and tear at this point.”

The win ended a run of only one in five and they are now just two points off the playoffs, a position Johnson thinks is vital.

“Huge, the only thing that matters tonight is not me, it’s three points for this club, we needed it badly to get going in the right direction quickly. We spoke a lot about urgency this week.”

Can Portland Timbers finally find form now that Will Johnson has returned?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs DC United

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. DC United 

Venue: Providence Park – Wednesday, May 27 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: Portland Timbers 8/11 – Draw 5/2 – DC United 4/1

Match Preview

Portland Timbers welcome MLS Supporters’ Shield leaders DC United to Providence Park on Wednesday night as they look to move away from the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Portland have had a mediocre start to 2015 in Major League Soccer and have only won one of their last five, and with only one win at home all season, the Timbers are struggling to find a run of form.

However, Portland have won their last two against DC and will want to make it three in a row in Wednesday night’s meeting.

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Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Toronto was Portland’s second on the bounce and they need to try and get points from this one before the weekend’s trip to Colorado.

Portland Timbers’ record this season: P12 – W3 – D4 – L5

DC United have been the opposite of Portland and have been impressively resolute to remain at the top of the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings after 12 weeks.

Only losing once in their last ten, DC have been good value for their current position, and integral to their success is their defensive performances as they have only conceded ten in their 12 matches so far.

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However, their away form has been somewhat a hindrance to their potential as their last win away from RFK Stadium came in April.

DC United’s record this season: P12 – W6 – D4 – L2

They will look to leave Providence Park with maximum points on Wednesday night ahead of the weekend clash with Philadelphia Union at home.

Team News

Portland Timbers are without Ben Zemanski, who is still out with a knee injury, while Will Johnson and Diego Valeri are both doubts as they are still carrying minor injuries. Gaston Fernandez is expected to deputise for Valeri should he miss out with an ankle injury picked up in Saturday’s loss to Toronto.

DC United are without Eddie Johnson, Fabian Espindola, Collin Martin, Luis Silva and Nick DeLeon all though injury. Jairo Arrieta should start after scoring from the bench against New England Revolution. However, Ben Olsen could revert back to 4-4-2 and start Chris Pontius and Conor Doyle upfront as he will look to keep his squad fresh with another game this weekend.

Key Points

Portland’s last five: L/D/W/L/L

DC’s last five: W/D/W/L/D

Key Stat: Portland have not lost to DC United since May 2011 in a 3-2 loss at home.

Key Player: Bill Hamid – USMNT ‘keeper Hamid is crucial to DC’s MLS Cup hopes and will be influential in keeping out Portland on Wednesday night.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 0-1 DC United – DC are too strong to lose to Portland side struggling for form, and the Timbers will find it hard to break them down in what should be a tight affair.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Orlando City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City

Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, April 12th – 17:00 BST (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 5)

Match Odds: Portland 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Orlando 18/5

Match Preview

Portland Timbers host Orlando City on Sunday night at Providence Park in an intriguing clash between two sides that will feel they deserve more points than they currently have as both have performed well up to this point.

The Timbers come into the game off the back of an impressive 3-1 win over FC Dallas last weekend, whereas Orlando were left heartbroken after an injury time winner saw them fall at home to DC United last time out.

Portland will be the favorites for this one after they recorded their first win at home last weekend and have only lost one of their opening five.

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They will have to keep Kaka quiet however, if they are to win all three points and the Brazilian playmaker will need to put in a similar display to that which he performed in Montreal in the Lions’ last road game.

Orlando haven’t had the best results so far this season, but they have had some very strong performances. They were unfortunate against DC last week and have showed that they are not afraid to attack sides.

The problem comes with their inability to finish chances, and with the creative abilities of Kaka there has to be a leading man to finish these chances on a regular basis.

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Adrian Heath has juggled with his striking options thus far, and we are likely to see rookie Cyle Larin start up front in Portland on Sunday night.

Team News

Portland will be without Will Johnson (leg break), Diego Valeri (ACL), Ben Zemanski (ACL) and Michael Nanchoff (hernia) as all miss out through injury. Jack Jewsbury could return in midfield having come off the bench against Dallas last week.

Orlando could be without six men as Tally Hall (ACL) and Pedro Ribeiro (hamstring) will both miss out, while Martin Paterson (groin), Christina Higuita (groin), Louis Neil (neck) and Tony Cascio (sore back) are all doubts. Cyle Larin is expected to start up front in place of Ribeiro with Kaka in behind.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ form: D/D/D/L/W

Orlando City’s form: D/W/L/D/L

Key Stat: Portland are undefeated in their last seven MLS home games.

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Key Player: Fanendo Adi – Portland’s lethal striker has started the season with a bang, and will cause Orlando problems all game.

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 3-1 Orlando City – The Lions have started well but cannot take their chances and that could cost them again on Sunday against a Timbers side that will want to record back-to-back victories. Portland look strong in attack and Orlando could struggle to contain their opponents in this one.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, March 28 – 20:00 ET (00:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Vancouver 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Portland 11/4

Match Preview

BC Place will play host to the Portland Timbers on Saturday night as they travel to Vancouver to play the Whitecaps in a key Western Conference clash in the what is the first match of the 2015 Cascadia Cup series.

These rivals from the Pacific Northwest always put on entertaining games and with both seemingly unaffected by the international break, this should be no different.

Vancouver come into the game off the back of two consecutive away wins and will want to replicate their away from when they return to BC Place for the first time since opening weekend on Saturday night.

Vancouver Whitecaps players celebrate after win at Orlando City (Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Vancouver Whitecaps players celebrate after win at Orlando City (Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Having won the last two away matches 1-0, the Whitecaps are used to low-scoring affairs and we’re expecting this one to be no different.

They will be hugely reliant on star striker, Octavio Rivero, as he has scored in each of their opening three games. Can he make it four in a row on Saturday?

Portland will feel disappointed with their form so far this season, as they are a side with great potential. Three draws in three is not great, but it’s not time to man the panic stations yet. They will see this fixture as winnable, despite being away from home.

After seeing a lead slip away twice in their clash with the LA Galaxy two weeks ago, and then a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City last time out, Portland could do with a win here against a Vancouver side that will battle for the MLS Playoffs with the Timbers come the end of the campaign.

Portland TImbers vs Sporting KC

The Sporting Kansas City game was not the first 0-0 draw this season for the Timbers as they played out a goalless draw on the opening weekend against Real Salt Lake and finding the net has been a bit of a problem early on.

Portland will be a force this year and it’s time they started putting points on the board.

Team News

Vancouver will be without Mauro Rosales (ankle) and Andre Lewis (knee). Early season sensation Sam Adekugbe will also miss the game with a rib injury. Christian Dean, Russell Teibert and Darren Mattocks are all away on international duty.

Portland travel to Canada without Will Johnson (leg), Diego Valeri (knee), Ben Zemanski (knee) and Michael Nanchoff (hernia). Jack Jewsbury is a doubt with concussion, while Alvas Powell is on international duty with Jamaica.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/W/W

Portland Timbers’ form: D/D/D

Key Stat: Portland scored three times in each of the three meetings with Vancouver in 2014, winning 3-0 at BC Place in a memorable game for Timbers fans.

Octavio Rivero celebrates his goal against Toronto FC (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jimmy Jeong)

Octavio Rivero celebrates his goal against Toronto FC (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jimmy Jeong)

Key Player: Octavio Rivero – The Uruguayan striker has been a huge hit this season, and has scored each of Vancouver’s three goals so far. He could well be the match winner once again.

Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Portland Timbers – These fierce rivals are both looking strong this season but there will be little to separate them on Saturday night. The Timbers have drawn every game so far and that result looks to be the most likely outcome of this one as both will be desperate to avoid defeat.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake

Venue: Providence Park – Saturday, March 7 – 10:30 ET (03:30 GMT – Sunday, 8)

Match Odds: Portland 6/5 – Draw 9/4 – Real Salt Lake 23/10

Match Preview

The Portland Timbers face Real Salt Lake in a key Western Conference clash in the opening weekend of the 2015 Major League Soccer season late on Saturday night.

The Timbers agonisingly missed out on the playoffs by just one point last season despite ending the year with just one defeat in their last nine.

A key reason in failing to reach the postseason was the fact that Portland failed to win in their first eight games of last season. They need to start better and will want to begin with a victory against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

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RSL did make the playoffs last season but were eliminated by eventual champions, LA Galaxy 5-0 in the second-leg of their Western Conference semi-final.

Real Salt Lake ended the regular season unbeaten in three without conceding a goal and one of those games was a 0-0 draw at Portland.

These two sides faced each other three times last year and couldn’t be separated as they both won one each and drew that late season game at Providence Park.

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Portland and RSL only lost one game each over the course of preseason and come into the new season full of confidence, both looking to make the playoffs in a highly competitive Western Conference.

Team News

The Portland Timbers have plenty of injury worries ahead of the curtain raiser as Will Johnson (broken leg), Diego Valeri and Ben Zemanski (both torn ACL) are all definitely out for some time. Michael Nanchoff (hip), Diego Chara (calf) and Jorge Villafana (muscle tightness) are all doubts but Villafana is expected to make the game and start at left-back. New goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey should start in goal while former RSL centre-back Nat Borchers will partner Liam Ridgewell in defence.

Real Salt Lake have five injury worries of their own ahead of the clash as Joao Plata (metatarsal), John Stertzer (toe), Justen Glad (knee), Demar Phillips (hamstring) and Pecka (hip) are all set to miss out.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ form: N/A

Real Salt Lake’s form: N/A

Key Stat: The Timbers have not beaten Real Salt Lake at home in their last five MLS meetings (P5 – D3 – L2).

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Key Player: Fanendo Adi – The Timbers’ Designated Player is starting his first full season in MLS and will likely lead the attack for Portland on Saturday night. He bagged nine goals from 18 starts last season and will be raring to go in this one.

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 1-1 Real Salt Lake – Both sides have key players out injured and will just want to get points on board in their opening games. That could lead to another draw but both sides will likely find the net in this one.