Know your enemy: Portland Timbers

Portland bernier

Portland is one of the great stories of Major League Soccer, with an incredible fan base and multiple sellout crowds at home, but that loyalty may be tested this season as the Timbers have a paltry 2-3-4 record in nine regular season games and are currently in eighth spot in the Western Conference.
Here are three things you need to know about the club visiting Stade Saputo this Saturday at 4pm EDT (tickets: ticketmaster.ca):
The Timbers’ attack is struggling, having scored seven goals in its nine league games. Part of the problem has to do with missing Argentine playmaker Diego Valeri, who played his first minutes this season off the bench last weekend, after being sidelined since the final game of 2014 with an ACL tear. Captain Will Johnson has also been out since opening weekend. Add to that the inability of some of its offensive players like Max Urruti (1), Dairon Asprilla (1), Gaston Fernandez (0) and Darlington Nagbe (0) to find the back of the net on a consistent basis, despite making 35 appearances combined.
What Portland lacks in the attacking third, it excels at on the defensive side of the game, allowing less than a goal per game (8) in 2015. Part of the reason lies with defensive stalwart and former Aston Villa centre back Liam Ridgewell. Since making his debut on July 18, 2014, the Englishman has started 24 consecutive league matches, helping Portland notch 10 shutouts over that span.
With a record of 1-2-1 in four road games, the Western Conference club has kept things really close when playing away from Providence Park, with its two losses coming by just one goal margins and two shutouts in a 1-0 victory over NYCFC and last week’s scoreless draw with the Whitecaps FC.