Orlando City rounds up its four-match road trip this Saturday against the Portland Timbers. The Lions have built some momentum in recent weeks, beating D.C. United 2-1 and drawing Atlanta United 3-3 last weekend in front of a record crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. City’s next match against Portland will be nationally televised on FS1 during prime time. This one should be a cracker.
Here’s what you should know about Orlando City’s next opponent:
A New Signing
The Portland Timbers announced today that the club has signed five-year-old goalkeeper Derrick Tellez to a one-game contract, fulfilling his wish to be a Timbers first-team player through Make-A-Wish® Oregon.
Portland (12-10-8, 44 points) lost its most recent match at Real Salt Lake by a score of 2-1. The defeat was Portland’s first loss since Aug. 12. The Timbers own a record of 3-1-1 in the last month with wins against both New York clubs during that span. In 2017, the Timbers have a 3-3-3 record against Eastern Conference teams.
Diego Valeri leads Portland in goals (18) and assists (9) and the Argentinian is central to what the Timbers try to do offensively. Valeri, listed as a midfielder, often forays into scoring positions and essentially plays as a second striker in support of Fanendo Adi or Darren Mattocks in attack. Adi is second on the Timbers with 10 goals this season.
Portland’s engine and anchor in midfield is U.S. international Darlington Nagbe. Nagbe doesn’t necessarily fill up the stat sheet, but his impact as a box-to-box central midfielder is absolutely vital for the Timbers. Containing Nagbe is something only a few MLS clubs have managed to do this season, and Orlando City will have to aware of his position on the pitch at all times.
Portland’s number one goalkeeper, Jake Gleeson, missed the match against RSL with a hamstring injury. Gleeson has been an unused sub since his last start on Aug. 12 - Jeff Attinella has stepped in between the sticks during Gleeson’s absence. Attinella has been relatively solid for the Timbers since Gleeson’s injury, but was beaten from range against RSL on what was a strong but savable strike from 25 yards out. Orlando City could trouble the Timbers second choice keeper with long-distance efforts, as Gleeson is still listed questionable for Saturday’s match.
Orlando City has dominated Portland head-to-head dating back to 2015. The teams have played twice since City joined MLS, with the Lions winning both matches by a combined score of 6-1.
Orlando traveled to Providence Park during its debut season in 2015 and ousted the Timbers 2-0 on their home field. Last season, Portland faced the Lions in Orlando and were dominated from start to finish - Orlando City was up 4-0 in the 90th minute before the Timbers scored a consolation goal making it 4-1. That was an impressive result for City in many ways, especially since Portland was the defending MLS Cup Champion at the time.