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CCL Preview: D.C. United and Portland face tough tests in quest to reach knockout round

Fabian Espindola

The U.S. Open Cup final isn’t the only big non-MLS fixture today, as both D.C. United and the Portland Timbers look to solidify their position in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage.

D.C. is down Jamaica today for an 8 p.m. match against Waterhouse F.C., the result of which will go a long way toward deciding the winner out of Group 4.

The MLS side won a closely contested meeting between the two at RFK Stadium, but with Waterhouse winning both legs against Tauro of Panama, the Jamaicans are still very much alive.

A win for D.C. United would tie the two clubs with six points apiece and give D.C. the head-to-head tiebreaker. It would also mean they would only need one point in two upcoming matches against the Panamanian side, allowing Ben Olsen to shift his focus back to MLS.

A loss or draw would require solid results in D.C.’s final two CCL group stage matches.

After receiving a red card last week against the New York Red Bulls, Fabian Espindola looks set to feature for D.C. United, although not much about Olsen’s lineup is known beyond that.

Back in the United States, the Timbers will play host to CD Olimpia of Honduras in a 10 p.m. match that should help determine the outcome of Group 5. Both teams have beat up on Alpha United of Guyana, making their head-to-head play the likely decider of which squad makes the quarterfinals.

A win at home would take some pressure off the Timbers ahead of the second leg in Tegucigalpa.

Embroiled in a heated battle for a Western Conference playoff spot, it will be interesting to see how much Caleb Porter prioritizes a result Tuesday night at Providence Park ahead of this weekend’s important clash versus fellow playoff hopeful Vancouver.

One player expected to be in the lineup is Will Johnson, who will look to get a run in after missing last weekend’s game due to the birth of his son.

The Timbers-Olimpia game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 USA, while the D.C. United-Waterhouse match will air on Fox Soccer Plus.

Which team needs a win more today and why? Who should Ben Olsen and Caleb Porter choose for their lineups? What do you think are the keys to each match?

Share your thoughts below.


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