MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Colorado Rapids

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

Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, October 25 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Portland Timbers 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Colorado Rapids 6/1

Match Preview

Portland Timbers take on Colorado Rapids at Providence Park on Sunday evening as the home side look to secure a playoff spot on MLS Decision Day.

The Timbers are currently fourth in the Western Conference with 50 points, two ahead of fifth and sixth placed Seattle and SKC who both have 48, so a draw would do the job for Caleb Porter’s men.

Although, a victory for Portland would not only guarantee a top six finish but they could also sneak in through the back door to clinch an automatic semi-final spot should LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps both fail to win.

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Portland should come into this game full of confidence after an incredible performance last weekend saw them thrash LA Galaxy 5-2 away from home, sealing their third win in four games.

Portland Timbers’ MLS record: P33 – W14 – D8 – L11

Colorado Rapids cannot qualify for the playoffs and haven’t been able to for a while now – they will also certainly finish bottom of the Western Conference, irrelevant of their result here.

However, they did put an end to a run of four straight defeats with a remarkable 2-0 victory away at Sporting Kansas City in midweek to record their first win in seven games.

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Pablo Mastroeni’s side can play with freedom on Sunday in the knowledge that this is no more than a formality for them and there is no pressure other than to end on a high.

Colorado Rapids’ MLS record: P33 – W9 – D10 – L14

The Timbers won the last meeting between these two sides 2-1 back in May. They also beat the Rapids 2-1 the last time they met at Providence Park in July 2014. Colorado have beaten Portland just once in their last seven meetings (D2, L4).

Team News

Diego Valeri will miss the game for Portland Timbers through suspension after picking up too many yellow cards. Ben Zemanski (knee) remains a long-term absentee, while Will Johnson (leg) is a major doubt.

Colorado’s Michael Harrington (foot) is unavailable, while there are also doubts over the fitness of Drew Moor (foot), Dillon Serna (hamstring) and Jared Watts (toe). Sam Cronin is suspended after being sent off against SKC.

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Key Points

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

Colorado Rapids’ last five: L/L/L/L/W

Key Stat: Portland Timbers have recorded just one victory in their last six home games.

Key Player: Fanendo Adi – The big Nigerian forward is on fire. He’s bagged five goals in his last four games, including a brace at LA Galaxy last weekend. He’s a real handful and the Rapids will struggle to stop him.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 3-1 Colorado Rapids – The Timbers should comfortably seal their playoff spot and if results go their way, they may even pinch an automatic semi-final place.

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Portland Timbers boss confirms club are interested in Drogba and Pirlo

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter has confirmed that his MLS club are interested in Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Juventus midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo.

Both Drogba and Pirlo have been linked with moves to MLS this week and the Timbers boss has done little to quell the rumours suggesting that we could see two superstars heading to the USA.

“We’ll go after anybody like that. We’d love to have guys like that, but it comes down to the feasibility of it and looking at the situation as well,” said Porter.

“We’re aware of all these guys that come over and sometimes we want them and they don’t want to come to us. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense for whatever reason based on the situation, but yeah, we’re looking at all those guys.”

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Portland’s owner Merritt Paulson admitted back in January that he would like to have Drogba at the Timbers and although the Chelsea striker is ageing, Paulson believed the Ivorian would be “uniquely skilled to clean up in MLS.”

At the time Paulson said, “the league almost signed him a couple years ago and I know my coach would love him to be a Timber, but I highly doubt it at this point.”

However, it looks as though the likelihood of Drogba plying his trade in MLS with the Timbers has increased this week after the 37-year-old confirmed he is leaving Chelsea and is interested in playing in the USA.

Would Didier Drogba be an ideal signing for the Portland Timbers?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: Providence Park – Saturday, May 2nd – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST – Sunday, May 3rd)

Match Odds: Portland Timbers 23/20 – Draw 23/10 – Vancouver Whitecaps 12/5

Match Preview

Portland Timbers welcome Vancouver Whitecaps to Providence Park for the third match in the 2015 MLS Cascadia Cup series between the teams from the pacific northwest.

The Timbers are seventh in the Western Conference coming into this clash after they narrowly lost their last game away at the Seattle Sounders in what was also a Cascadia Cup match and they’ve only won two of their first eight games (D3, L3).

Caleb Porter and his side would’ve hoped for a better start to the season but they will know it’s still very early days and they’ve already overcome a number of tricky fixtures against the likes of LA Galaxy and Seattle.

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Vancouver Whitecaps are flying high and currently sit top of both the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield standings with 16 points from their opening nine games and have made their second best ever start to an MLS season – the Whitecaps had 17 points from their first nine games in 2012.

Since a run of four straight wins, Carl Robinson‘s side have dipped slightly with just one win in their last four (D1, L2) and they suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to FC Dallas last time out, although Vancouver are the joint-second highest scorers in MLS this season with 11 goals – only Columbus Crew have netted more times (12).

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These two sides met just one month ago when the Whitecaps beat the Timbers 2-1 in dramatic fashion at BC Place. Nicolas Mezquida had given Vancouver the lead before Fanendo Adi equalised in the 82nd minute for Portland, but Robert Earnshaw scored a last-gasp winner to sink the Timbers.

The last meeting that took place at Providence Park saw Portland run out as 3-0 winners back in September 2014 and the Timbers will be desperate for a repeat result.

Team News

Portland Timbers have numerous absentees in midfield with Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski, Michael Nanchoff, Rodney Wallace and Diego Valeri all set to miss out through injury.

Vancouver Whitecaps are without the injured Andre Lewis and Marco Bustos, while Diego Rodriguez is a slight doubt after he missed the last game with a muscle strain.

Key Points

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

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: W/D/L/W/L

Key Stat: Vancouver Whitecaps have only beaten the Portland Timbers twice in 12 attempts in MLS (D4, L6).

Key Player: Octavio Rivero – The Uruguayan is the joint top goalscorer in MLS so far this season having already found the net five times. He has been almost unplayable at times and the Timbers will need to find a way to stop him if they are to stand a chance of victory.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-2 Vancouver Whitecaps – This is a clash that has all the makings of a classic and it should provide us with goals and entertainment but will probably end all square.

MLS 2015 Season Preview: Portland Timbers

The new season is now just one week away and in the build-up to the first game, we’ve had an MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what to expect from the Portland Timbers in 2015…

The Portland Timbers head into their fifth MLS season after joining in 2011. They looked set to be on course for a playoff finish in 2014 until the penultimate game of the season when a 0-0 draw at home to Real Salt Lake allowed the Vancouver Whitecaps to agonisingly nip in ahead of them by just one point, despite the final day victory over FC Dallas for the Timbers. Head coach Caleb Porter will be hoping he can inspire his side to perform to the same level as last year while tweaking some minor elements of the team to make them that little bit more effective.

Last season’s finish: Western Conference position: 6th – P34 – W12 – D13 – L9

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What needs to change this year?

Portland Timbers need to start the season better this time around. They didn’t record a victory until their ninth game of the season in 2014 and that left them playing catch up for the remainder of the campaign. The Timbers only managed 10 points from their opening 11 games and that hampered their progress massively.

Despite the slow start, they finished the season brilliantly with just one defeat in their final nine games, picking up five wins and three draws. If the Oregon side can carry that vein of form through to 2015 then they will have a good chance of having a successful year.

Turning some of the draws into wins at home is another important area that could be improved. Portland only managed five victories on home soil in 2014, while they played out nine draws.

Key changes to the squad:

Ins: Adam Kwarasey – Goalkeeper, Nat Borchers – Defender, Jeanderson Pereira – Defender, Dairon Asprilla – Midfielder

Outs: Donovan Ricketts – Goalkeeper, Michael Harrington – Defender, Pa Modou Kah – Defender, Rauwshan McKenzie – Defender, Danny O’Rourke – Defender, Steve Zakuani – Midfielder, Kalif Alhassan – Midfielder

Key Player: Diego Valeri – Midfielder

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Diego Valeri will miss the start of the 2015 campaign through injury and is hoping to return by May. The Timbers need to ensure they don’t feel the full force of his absence in the early stages of the season. The Argentinian playmaker scored 11 goals, made 14 assists and was the stand-out player for Portland in 2014.  He will be crucial for the Timbers as they look to mount a serious challenge for a top-six finish in the Western Conference and qualify for the playoffs.

One to watch: Fanendo AdiForward

Fanendo Adi notched an impressive nine goals from just 18 starts in 2014 and also made four assists. The big Nigerian forward could play an important role when he leads the line for the Timbers. At 6 feet 4 inches, he provides a different proposition for opposing teams compared to other forwards in this Portland squad. He’s only 24-years-old so he’s got a promising career ahead of him and if the Timbers are to challenge for the top spots, his excellent goals-per-game ratio could be crucial.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 3rd

The Portland Timbers have only recorded one playoff finish since their participation in Major League Soccer began in 2011. However, they look in great shape to be one of the strongest sides in the Western Conference in what promises to be one of the most exciting MLS seasons to date.

What are you expecting from the Portland Timbers in 2015?

How costly will Diego Valeri’s injury be for Portland Timbers?

Portland Timbers could begin the 2015 season without key player Diego Valeri after he underwent surgery on his knee yesterday which will potentially see him out of action for five months.

It’s a lay-off that wouldn’t see him feature again until April if he is unable to recover quicker than expected with the new season beginning in March.

The Argentinian midfield maestro has been a revelation for the Timbers once again this season, setting club records in the process.

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His goals tally of 11 is the best in a single season by any Portland player since their competition in Major League Soccer began in 2011.

The previous best record was the 10 goals scored by Valeri himself in last year’s campaign (2013) – a number that striker Maximiliano Urruti also notched up this year, assisted by great service from his midfield compatriot.

He was joint second in the league assists table this year, with 14 set-ups (also a new club record) which is the same as Robbie Keane of LA Galaxy – only Landon Donovan made more (19).

The 28-year-old has been the first name on the team sheet for the last two seasons, with consistent performances of the highest standard and has only missed four games.

Diego Valeri in the last two seasons:

Diego Valeri stats

He is the driving force in the Timbers side and he could prove to be a great loss in the early stages of next season.

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Portland will certainly be hoping that he can recover quicker than has been predicted and that he can be back in time for the first game, but it’s looking unlikely.

It all means that they will desperately miss their key man in the opening games of the 2015 campaign and they can only hope that it won’t have a negative impact on their playoff aspirations.

How much will Portland Timbers miss Diego Valeri if he is unable to play for the first month of next season?

2014 MLS Season Review: Portland Timbers

Western Conference Final Position: 6th

Review

The 2014 season started slowly and it took Portland nine games to record their first win but they eventually burst in to life. Unfortunately for the Timbers, it all came to an agonising conclusion as they narrowly missed out on the playoffs, finishing in sixth place, just one point behind Vancouver Whitecaps. They are certainly the best MLS team that won’t feature in the playoffs this year and it will be a bitter pill to swallow considering how well they have played at times this season.

Best Moment

Coming from a goal behind to win 3-1 away at Real Salt Lake in June is one of their greatest achievements for 2014. It’s the only home defeat that Real Salt Lake suffered all season and a result they can be proud of.

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Worst Moment

The defeat in Toronto at the end of September is the one that will have hurt them the most and is essentially the result that cost them their place in the playoffs. Having led the game 2-0 at half-time, they will be devastated that they somehow squandered a two-goal lead and lost the game 3-2, thanks to an 89th minute winner from Michael Bradley.

Player of the Year

Diego Valeri has been inspirational for the Timbers. He’s scored 11 goals from midfield and assisted 14. Contributing 25 goals from midfield is very impressive. Maximiliano Urruti is another player who has been in fine form this season, but Valeri has been the main man and has even been discussed as an outsider for the MVP award.

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Biggest Win

Vancouver Whitecaps 0-3 Portland Timbers (August 31 2014)

Portland Timbers 3-0 Vancouver Whitecaps (September 20 2014)

Portland Timbers 3-0 San Jose Earthquakes (October 9 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Portland Timbers 2-4 Seattle Sounders (August 24 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

The margin of error in soccer can be so small at times. They will reflect on a good season that will be littered with ifs and buts. The main criticism of Portland would be how slowly they started the season. One win from their opening 11 games left them a monumental task to try and finish in a playoff position and they almost made it. If they hadn’t been so slow out of the blocks, they would have comfortably secured a playoff spot and their season wouldn’t already be over now. They will be a force in the 2015 season.

Portland Timbers in for newly crowned Premier League winner?

Earlier today on Twitter, ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman reported that current free agent Joleon Lescott has been offered the chance to play in MLS with the Portland Timbers.

The Birmingham-born defender has finished the season with English Premier League side Manchester City, after a campaign in which he won two trophies, the League Cup and Premier League in his final season with the club.

The news comes after Futty Danso’s move from Portland Timbers to Montreal Impact was also announced today. It posed question marks over the centre back positions and the availability of Lescott would certainly fill the hole.

The Timbers only have one designated player in Argentine Diego Valeri, and so adding the former Everton man is a real possibility.

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In July 2010 Lescott was part of a Manchester City team that played against the Timbers at Merlo Field.

The move would also see the England defender take a significant pay cut but he would become the highest paid DP defender in MLS history.

His former clubs include Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers, and he is reportedly attracting interest from clubs such as Queens Park Rangers,  Turkish club Besiktas and Aston Villa, the club he supported as a boy.

The two time Premier League winner would be a great addition to any team, especially a side in MLS, and he would be the second British player to turn out for Timbers if he made the move after Scottish striker Kris Boyd made the switch in 2012.