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Match Preview: Toronto FC vs. Portland Timbers - One More for the Road

The Reds wrap up their season-opening 8 game road trip against the defending champs.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup

The Reds have the best defense in MLS. First of all, that's an odd sentence. Second of all, Portland haven't exactly been firing on all cylinders, posting a respectable 2-3-3 thus far this season, scoring 12 through those first 8 games.

What I'm most excited to see is the return of Will Johnson to Portland. Against Montreal and D.C he was a force in midfield, and has arguably been TFC's best addition this season. Alongside Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio and Marky Delgado in the diamond-4 midfield, he bossed the centre of the park. This will be key against a Timbers team that looks to spread things from the midfield to the pacey wingers like Dairon Asprilla and Lucas Melano.

The Reds backline will have a tough test regardless of who the Timbers start, with both Fanendo Adi and Jack McInerney having started the season fairly well. On the other end, the Timber's back four hasn't always been strong and Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore will look to capitalize.

The Timbers got a 1-1 draw against New England on Wednesday and were without Diego Valeri due to suspension. Expect both Valeri and Nagbe to start on Sunday, possibly bringing the Timber back to their old 4-3-3 with Diego Chara anchoring the midfield and Adi leading the line.

The Lineup

football formations

With Osorio out of the lineup, look for TFC to bring Lovitz back into the XI and stray slightly from the diamond they used at Montreal. Jay Chapman has been brought in and could see time in Osorio's spot at the top of the diamond if Vanney elects to keep tactics the same. Benoit Cheyrou is still unavailable due to injury.

The Outlook

The Reds have a massively positive result from last weekend, fresh legs, and nothing to lose going into the home of the defending champions. I expect a quick-counter gameplan from Greg Vanney, facilitated by shutting down the midfield using Johnson and Bradley. My Prediction: 1-1 draw on the road.

The game kicks off at 3:30 on TSN4 on Sunday.