The Timbers will have their hands full with the defending MLS champions.On Form
Portland Timbers: Portland's center back pairing of Futty Danso and Eric Brunner has been in excellent form, as the two men have formed an understanding, allowing the Timbers' defense to slowly but steadily improve. Behind them, Troy Perkins has been in excellent form in goal, and once again impressed with a number of saves despite Portland's eventual 1-0 loss at Chivas USA. Jack Jewsbury has provided a steady hand in the midfield and has proved to be one of the more inspired roster additions for the team's inaugural year in MLS.
Colorado Rapids: Back to being a constant fixture in the starting XI, Conor Casey is finally able to start putting goals in the back of the net. His scrappy and combative presence up top along with the possibility of Omar Cummings returning from injury should make Timbers keeper, Troy Perkins, fearful. Combine that with the shielding power of Matt Pickens and his unshakeable defensive wall of Kimura, Marshall, Moor, and Wallace and the Colorado Rapids are looking more like the reigning MLS Champions.
Portland: Neither of the Timbers' first choice forwards, Kenny Cooper and Jorge Perlaza, has managed to hit the back of the net since an April 16 game against Dallas. This goal drought has been detrimental to Portland's results, especially as the midfield is doing reasonably well at creating chances for the front two. Both have proven goalscoring records, but sometimes the connection between the two and between the forward and midfield lines seems to be off. Furthermore, Portland's full backs, Rodney Wallace and Jeremy Hall, didn't have the best of showings against Chivas USA.
Colorado: Ending the last seven out of eight matches in a tie has been a frustrating defect in the Rapids performance. Although glad to be undefeated in those games, the inability to bring home three points haunts both players and fans. Quincy Amarikwa and Andre Akpan have struggled making goals happen, and need some refinement in their play making ability.
Portland: Don't expect too much to change tactically, with John Spencer looking pretty settled in his 4-4-2 formation. Starting Darlington Nagbe versus Sal Zizzo will likely be the one big lineup question heading into Saturday's game. It will be interesting to see how Portland handles Colorado's own 4-4-2 setup at JELD-WEN Field, as the club will likely try to use the pitch to its advantage and compress Colorado's play even more, limiting the valuable influence of its wide players.
Colorado: Hungry for a win, the Rapids may be even more vigorous in their offensive play. With powerful midfielders like Jeff Larentowicz and Jamie Smith, look for more shots to be taken, and more possession converted into results.
Portland: JELD-WEN Field had been a fortress for Portland up until the defeat against D.C. United two weeks ago. If the Timbers are really serious about their playoff push, they will need to rediscover some of the magic that saw them win five straight home games to open the season.
Colorado: This will be the first time the Colorado Rapids have played at Jeld-Wen Field. The noise along with Timber Joey’s chainsaw may add a unique obstacle for the Rapids to overcome.
Nicholas Rosano: The Timbers should be able to squeeze this one out, 1-0 to the home side.
Stephanie Gardner: When a team has tied as many times as the Rapids have in the past eight matches, the cycle must be broken. The streak will end Saturday night when the Rapids defeat Portland 2-1.
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