Matchup: Timbers vs Impact Insight
Two former USL sides with much in common are set to take the stage in this one as the Portland Timbers travel north of the border to take on a Montreal Impact side that aim to protect their home undefeated record when on Saturday afternoon at Olympic Stadium.
Matchup: Montreal Impact v Portland Timbers
Date: Saturday, April 28, 2012
Time: Kick-off: 2:30 PM EST
Venue: Stade Olympique de Chambery, Montreal, Canada
The Impact (1-5-2), were not really expected to shock many people with a mid-top table finish this season. They are performing as expected through their first eight games of the young season, and have just five points during this time.
This is the second lowest total in the division, and the entire MLS itself.
The problem though has not been with the attacking side of the ball. While seven goals through eight games is not exactly tearing it up, it is still an average total in this league, and fourth in the Eastern Conference. It’s the back end that has been troubling. They have allowed 15 goals on the season, and 13 of those have come on the road.
While the Timbers (2-4-1) in reality have more points overall than the Impact, they in fact sit at the very bottom of a very competitive Western Conference.
After an above average inaugural finish a season ago, the Timbers were expected to show some marked improvements during the 2012 season.
They had shown anything but in their first six games.
This perception has changed recently though with their win against the previously unbeaten Sporting Kansas City. Not only had they not lost, they had not even drawn a match this season, so it was a pretty monumental win in the early going for Portland.
If the Timbers want to get back to where they were a season ago, they are going to have to perform better on the road though.
Players to Watch:
Montreal – Bernardo Corradi 4 Games Started 7 Shots/4 On Target/2 Goals
The former Udinese player in Serie A is getting one last shot at competitive soccer with Montreal, and has made the most of it in the early going as he leads the Impact in goals.
Portland – Darlinton Nagbe 5 Games Started 12 Shots/7 On Target/3 Goals
After bursting onto the scene last season he has gotten off to an even better start this year. Already surpassing his goal total from last season with three.
While the Timbers have struggled to find its offense, Portland will likely bring a lineup nearly identical to what was fielded against SKC.
If the Timbers are to compete for a playoff spot by the end of the year, these are the kind of contests they need to win.