With a week to prepare no rest for the Timbers working on Labor Day as they begin their week of preparation for Toronto.
Here’s the list out due to National call-ups:
- Ryan Johnson
- Alvas Powell
- Donovan Ricketts
Here’s the list of walking wounded that (may?) be available for some minutes this weekend but perhaps not likely to start:
- Futty Danso
- Bright Dike
- David Horst
- Jack Jewsbury
- Freddie Piquionne
- Diego Valeri
- Will Johnson
Here’s who is suspended:
- Ben Zemanski
Here’s who is likely or (completely) out for the season:
- Brent Richards
- Mikael Silvestre
- Ryan Miller (Rod inserted into leg – stress fracture)…
- Dylan Tucker Gangnes (have seen no sign of Dylan and with all the other injuries it just didn’t seem appropriate to ask about any other injury status updates)
That’s 14 players potentially unavailable or with potential limited minutes in the match this weekend.
Incredible – but as noted by Caleb Porter today he and the team need to think past that and get down to business in preparation for Toronto.
Forward into the past…
I didn’t ask about the 3-4-3; no point… it is what it is and something ventured with something gained but that something wasn’t a clean sheet so perhaps not a systematic change we see put in force this weekend?
More likely is the return of a bog-standard 4-3-3 with Zizzo manning the right side and Harrington the left with a return of Kah to partner Baptiste.
With respect to the Midfield the likely scenario if Johnson is ready to go see’s him pairing with Chara and Nagbe in the center while Wallace and Alhassan partner up with Valencia.
That’s a strong side and offers quite a few dangerous options in attack for a number of reasons. As a possession based team controlling the ball will be at least one-half the battle while also looking to penetrate and put two or three past Toronto.
Toronto are also a possession based team and their road record isn’t the best; they’ve only taken 9 points out of 13 games with 17 goals against; if ever there was a time to put some points on the board for Portland it would be now.
Most recently they defeated New England (1-nil); lost to Columbus (2-nil – who just sacked their Head Coach) and drew with DC United (1-1). Not stellar by any stretch but not a team to trifle with.
This is a game where most would expect Portland to take three points… hard slog with so many injuries and the 11 who start will be tested from front to back given the possession based approach Toronto also take.
Given the Portland Thorns won their League this year I’d be surprised if the supporters in JELD-WEN don’t get a peak at that winning team prior to kick-off; it would seem appropriate to add some energy to the Stadium and players…
Next up my MLS Final Third Power Rankings and some other tidbits about the rest of MLS to date…