It’s hard to say this is an unfair result given the lineup Toronto FC put out tonight, but this 2-0 loss to the Portland Timbers will still hurt on a night where D.C. United dropped all three points at home. The Reds put in an admirable first-half performance, but once the game got stretched out in the second 45 they were just unable to keep up with Portland’s lethal counter-attack.
Whether or not punting on this game was worth it will become clear on Saturday night. If the Reds do win against LAFC, then this can probably be justified. But they absolutely have to win that.
90’ — The Reds had some chances toward the end; Lucas Janson hit the woodwork again, and Jozy Altidore skied a pretty decent opportunity in the box. It’s just been that kind of night.
81’ Portland Timbers 2-0 Toronto FC — And David Guzman seals the win for the home side. He utterly picks Michael Bradley’s pocket by the TFC box, and he walks straight in to finish past Clint Irwin fairly clinically. Didn’t take much, that one.
64’ Portland Timbers 1-0 Toronto FC — Ah, there it is. Been coming for a while, probably. Blanco takes it on the right side of the box, and he puts it across goal on a platter for Diego Chara to score his first of the year.
58’ — A couple other scary moments on ensuing corners for the Timbers. One shot trickles wide of the post, and another from distance rockets straight into Irwin’s chest.
57’ — Yikes. Justin Morrow came oh so close to a cute finish for an own goal there, as Seb Blanco’s shot trickled across an open net. Morrow’s backheel rolled just barely wide of the right post; for a second there it looked destined for the twine.
46’ — We back. The Reds kick off toward the Timbers Army.
HT — On the broadcast, Luke Wileman called that first half a very good performance. While the Reds didn’t look perfect by any means, it certainly wasn’t the catastrophe some of us were expecting. Indeed, TFC definitely had the best chance of the half, when Lucas Janson put it off the post.
Marky Delgado will be walking on very thin ice in the second half; perhaps he’ll come off for a centre-back, allowing Michael Bradley to push up. Regardless, TFC might not really need to shake things up too much. Things are going alright.
40’ — Phew. Toronto are very lucky not to be down a man at the moment; Marky Delgado throws himself into a very late challenge (the third time he’s done that today), and very nearly picked up a second yellow card. Probably deserved it, in all honestly. But we continue.
31’ — So nothing horrible has happened yet. TFC have had a couple looks around goal, and Clint Irwin has been tested a few times in the other end. The Reds look like they’re in with a shout, but they’re definitely having trouble linking the defence and attack. Communication also seems to be a step behind in the attacking third — to be expected with a new group like this, though.
10’ — Ahhhh. A nice little piece of buildup started by Jon Bakero finishes with Lucas Janson putting one off the post. For a second there, I thought TFC had scored. Now that really would’ve been something.
1’ — Well, we’re underway. We’ll see what happens.
Okay, genuine question.
Which would you rather see?
This poll is closed
Jay Chapman at full-back
Michael Bradley at centre-back
Well... the lineups are out. It’s a doozy from Greg Vanney’s laboratory. We haven’t bothered with a lineup graphic today because, frankly, I have no clue what this formation is gonna be. Possibly a front three? What about at the back? Are Justin Morrow and Ryan Telfer playing centre-back?
As for Portland:
Toronto FC were barely in town for one weekend and they’re gone again. Just a few days after beating the Montreal Impact 3-1 at home, the Reds are off to the City of Roses to take on the Portland Timbers at everyone’s favourite converted baseball stadium (sorry, NYCFC).
Just like Toronto, the Timbers have struggled this year to recapture their regular season success from 2017. Portland finished first in the Western Conference last year, but now they find themselves a point out of the final playoff spot. That may be more of a recent development, though, since poor recent form has plunged the Timbers down the table.
They’d gone 15 MLS games unbeaten from April to August, before embarking on their current four-game losing skid (in which they lost at home to the Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders). Surging teams like the Sounders have thus caught up with the Timbers and edged them out of a playoff spot.
So, Portland will be just as desperate to stop the bleeding and pick up a win tonight as TFC will be. The Reds will certainly see Portland as a beatable opponent, since the Timbers struggle to truly test defences and often have a leaky backline of their own. Up front, they have bona fide MLS superstar Diego Valeri, who’s well-known for his ability to terrorize centre-backs and create goals out of nothing.
Sebastian Blanco adds a little to the attack for Portland, but he doesn’t have quite the same level of quality as Valeri. Still, they’ve been successful together in the past. Portland definitely has trouble finding goals if not created by Valeri, though.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of lineup Greg Vanney puts out tonight. Surely it’ll be a strong one, since the Reds desperately need this win, but how strong? There are a couple players out injured — Chris Mavinga, Auro — but how about the healthier players who may be given a night off? Sebastian Giovinco and Victor Vazquez could both be spared from the turf field. Jozy Altidore is all but guaranteed to return to the lineup, though.
Team news: injuries & suspensions
Toronto FC: Auro and Chris Mavinga (both hamstring) are confirmed out. Victor Vazquez and Sebastian Giovinco may also be kept on the sidelines, or confined to the bench.
Portland Timbers: Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson (tibia) and defender Roy Miller (thigh) are out injured. Defenders Larrys Mabiala (thigh) and Jorge Villafana (shoulder) are listed as questionable.
How to watch
Match date/time: Wednesday, August 29, 10:30 p.m. ET
TV channel: TSN 3 & 4 (Canada), Root Sports Northwest (Oregon)
Live stream: TSN GO, ESPN+
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto)
Check back throughout the game for live updates and commentary!