Photo by USA Today Sports Images
By CARL SETTERLUND
The Portland Timbers have a big weekend ahead, but before a rivalry game at home against the Seattle Sounders, they’ll have to make the long flight to Guyana – a South American country east of Venezuela – for a midweek CONCACAF Champions League game.
Four MLS teams are in action in the continental tournament this week and Portland is up first, playing Alpha United on Tuesday night. The Timbers will be looking for a better result than their 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution last weekend, when they controlled the run of play but couldn’t put away a winner.
Portland head coach Caleb Porter will have to put his thinking cap on, deciding which regular starters he can rest ahead of the all-important Sounders showdown while still trying for a result against Alpha United.
Sporting Kansas City will also be in action on Tuesday night. The reigning MLS Cup champions will visit Nicaraguan side Real Esteli, and will likely lean on some of their reserves to pull out a road result.
Dom Dwyer is coming off a brace and also scored against Real Esteli in 2013, but Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes may choose to keep Dwyer fresh for this weekend’s tilt against D.C. United.
D.C. United have the benefit of not traveling this week, as they host Jamaican side Waterhouse FC at RFK Stadium on Wednesday. D.C. has been a bit inconsistent as of late, but the club will look to take the momentum gained from the weekend’s 4-2 win over the Colorado Rapids into the CONCACAF Champions League bout.
Eddie Johnson should be available for the match and it could mark his first appearance since he was handed a two-game ban from MLS play. Johnson will be eager to get on the scoresheet to not only help United pick up three points, but also to move past his most recent suspension.
The Montreal Impact also play on Wednesday, and will likely put out a strong lineup.
Although the Impact picked up a win over Chicago last weekend, the victory followed a seven-game losing streak that left Montreal with the worst record in MLS and 11 points behind the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. That means the club can turn more of its attention to Wednesday’s road tilt against El Salvador outfit CD Fas, which the Impact beat at home on Aug. 5.
What do you think of this week’s CONCACAF Champions League schedule? Will all four MLS teams win? Which side has the toughest matchup? Should Montreal make a CCL trophy its primary focus?
Share your thoughts below.