We talk with @StumptownFooty ahead of our clash with the Portland Timbers.
Here are three things you need to know about today’s opposition.
What's been the difference between this year's Portland Timbers and last years? Has the tactical side change?
New faces for one in the form of David Guzman and Sebastian Blanco who both add a different element to any match they play in. Don't get me started on the injuries that have plagued this season, we've had multiple people on the shelf for the entire season. This includes our Captain Liam Ridgewell who just returned to training after suffer a setback in his rehab of a quad injury.j
There had been turnover from last years squad but that's expected in MLS. As far as the tactical side goes, Porter is pretty set in his ways tactically. But with new options Guzman and Blanco make the 4-2-3-1 more dynamic. Having Nagbe and Blanco on the wings with Valeri right be behind Adi make a formidable combination that can be tough for defenses to handle. Though Adi is in a bit of a slump right now in front of goal, but once he gets on a roll, he can be one of the most dangerous strikers in the league.
When this team is firing on all cylinders they can be the best team in the league and they've shown it at times this season, early on. And I think it might be a different story if it weren't for the massive injury bug that has his the team. Now, if we could just stop giving up the lead all would be right with the world.
How influential is Diego Valeri? What does he bring to the side? And how do the Galaxy stop him?
He is like a conductor leading a orchestra out on the pitch, he can assert himself over a match the minute he touches the ball. He leads the team lead in goals (11) and Assists (6) he's getting closer to the 50 goals/50 assists career mark. If he isn't the main cog of this offense then I don't know who is. He's also known around the PTFC fans as "Saint" Valeri because of everything he does on and off the pitch. He's very involved in the community of Portland.
As far as stopping Diego that's a tough ask for any defense. He makes defenses crazy with no only his on the ball movement but off the ball as well. He's going to have to command at least two defenders and if that happens, that's fine there are other options on the pitch including a very dangerous Darlington Nagbe who's come back from the Gold Cup with confidence. To take Valeri off the board as it were, you're going to have to clog the middle and force the ball out wide - but there you have a problem too. Like I said it's a tough order to take him out of the match defensively. When Diego Valeri is on, so go the Portland Timbers.
What do you make of Jeremy Ebobisse? What kind of future does he have in Portland?
He got his first start of the season against the Whitecaps in Vancouver because of Adi having to sit out a red card suspension. And he looked great off and on the ball, even collecting his first MLS goal in the process. I think he has great potential and could be a future starter. Right now what he needs is minutes and I think going forward we'll see more of him. I think his solid run at the U-20 World Cup is now translating to his club team.
I think he has a good future at PTFC, right now Adi stands in his way obviously. He's young, talented and if he develops right he could be the future striker for the Timbers. So I think his future is bright in the Rose City, but both the Fans and Ebobisse need to be patient. We have to remember that he's only 20 years old and has a lot of time ahead of him. He just needs minutes and hopefully Caleb Porter will facilitate that - especially after his last couple of showings.
Predicted starting XI: Jake Gleeson, Roy Miller, Lawrence Olum, Larrys Mabiala, Zarek Valentin, David Guzman, Diego Chara, Sebastian Blanco, Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe, Fanendo Adi