Orlando City (2-1-1, 7 pts) looks for two wins in two west coast trips this Sunday, heading across the country to face off against the reigning Western Conference champion Portland Timbers (1-1-2, 5 pts). The match is set to kick off at 4 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Local radio coverage will be available from 3:30 p.m. ET on FM 96.9 the Game in English and Acción 97.9 FM in Spanish.
Here’s everything you need to know about Portland:
Key Transactions and Player News
Key Additions - DM David Ayala (Estudiantes), GK David Bingham (MLS Free Agency), GK Justin Vom Steeg (LA Galaxy)
Key Departures - AM Diego Valeri (Lanús), GK Steve Clark (Houston), DM Renzo Zambrano (Pyunik), GK Jeff Attinella (retirement), GK Logan Ketterer (CF Montréal)
News - The Timbers bid farewell to arguably their greatest-ever player this offseason when Diego Valeri departed the club after nine seasons this winter. With 86 goals and 91 assists across 262 league games since 2013, Valeri has been among the league’s best players for the last decade, winning Landon Donovan MLS MVP in 2017 and leading Portland to three MLS Cup appearances, including lifting the trophy in 2015. Valeri is being replaced by committee, with Santiago Moreno, Yimmy Chara, Dairon Asprilla and returning star Sebastián Blanco all being asked to contribute to the effort.
Take a look at Portland’s full roster here.
After reaching MLS Cup last season, the Timbers largely chose to run it back for 2022 outside of Valeri’s and starting goalkeeper Steve Clark’s departures, only adding U-22 Initiative defensive midfielder David Ayala in terms of significant senior signings. They’ve enjoyed a decent start to the campaign, drawing their first two matches before scraping by Austin FC 1-0 in their last home game two weeks ago. Their most recent result, though, was a 4-1 thumping at FC Dallas, with USMNT forward Jesús Ferreira recording a first-half hat trick.
Orlando City’s last match against Portland was among the biggest matches in Club history – the MLS is Back Tournament final in August 2020. Despite a goal from Mauricio Pereyra and a strong effort, the Lions were beaten 2-1 on two set plays, with both Timbers goals coming from their starting center backs, Larrys Mabiala and Dario Zuparic. Overall, Orlando City is 3-2-1 against Portland, earning a 1-1 draw in its last trip to Providence Park back in 2019.
Rasmussen University Fact
While Benji Michel is Orlando born and raised, this weekend’s match will be something of a second homecoming for him. Michel spent three seasons at the University of Portland, becoming their first All-American selection in 16 years in 2018 before returning to Orlando to sign his Homegrown contract.