The 2017 Portland Timbers 2 are a very close analog to the 2017 Real Salt Lake. Both clubs have what is recognized as a large amount of individual talent however, both also stand prominently at the bottom of the overall league standings. While controlling possession, shots and many other non-scoreboard statistics, both teams have defenses that manage to leak several goals a match and have struggled to find any type of offensive consistency. Both seem to be teams of talented individuals who never manage to combine effectively with their teammates. Suspensions, both by normal routes, and through review by the disciplinary committees abound.
Timbers 2 has seen a total of 31 different players take the field in their 12 matches so far this season. Andre Lewis a defensive midfielder from Jamaica is the only junior Timber to start each match. Vilyan Bijev, Augustin Williams and Victor Arboleda lead the Timbers in goals with 3, 2, and 2 respectively. Lamar Batista and Rennico Clarke are among the leaders in USL discipline with 5 and 4 Yellow Cards.
As a team Timbers 2 have scored only 7 goals while allowing 20 leaving them with a -13 goal differential. Perhaps more representative of the overall woes is the fact that no player on their squad has more than a single assist.
The Monarchs continue to be lead by Chandler Hoffman with 7 goals and Sebastian Velasquez with 6 goals apiece. Nick Besler, James Moberg, Daniel Haber, and RSL loanee Jose Hernandez all have multiple goals as well. In all, twelve players have contributed to their league leading 28 goals.
Charlie Adams leads the Western conference with 5 assists and together with Andrew Brody and Sebastian Velasquez remains among the league leaders in chance creation.
Six Monarchs have appeared in all 11 matches and James Moberg, Max Lachowecki, Nick Besler continue to play ever minute and solidified the Monarchs defense which now has recorded 3 shutouts with Conner Sparrow in goal and a fourth with Lalo Fenandez.
The Monarchs have a 2-2-2 record in their six previous matches with Timbers 2 winning their earlier meeting this season 2-1 in Portland. They are undefeated at Rio Tinto with a 1-0-2 record with the sole victory coming last fall in another 2-1 score line.
What to watch for
Portland has managed to stay in the majority of the their games this season and avoid the blowouts on the road that frequently accompany a poor record. Their only blowout a 4-0 loss to San Antonio happened on their home field at Providence Park.
Look for Portland to play in a slower controlled style and attempt to deny the passes and touches through to Chandler Hoffman and Sebastian Velasquez. They will attempt to keep the scoreline close and play for breakaways and quick hits off Monarch mistakes to steal a goal or two.
The Monarchs will be without Kyle Curringa who received a two game suspension for dangerous play in the Vancouver match. Look for Sebastian Velasquez, Daniel Haber and other Monarchs to test the right side of the Timbers 2 defense early and frequently in hope of breaking the game open and finding space as Portland is forced out of a defensive stance.
The Monarchs will be playing for a listing in the USL rule book with 8 straight victories and have what would seem to be the perfect opponent if they can manage to find the back of the net. One internal concern might be the presence of several guest players down from the parent RSL club and what that may do to team chemistry. Anyone taking the time to watch the Monarchs over the past few matches must have been impressed with the flow and chemistry of this club as it enters the middle portion of its schedule and it would be very unfortunate to have it all fall apart one the verge of tying the record.
Real Monarchs: (4-2-3-1) Sparrow; Peay, Gallagher, Moberg, Lachowecki; Besler, Adams; Brody, Velasquez, Haber; Hoffman
Portland Timbers 2: (4-2-3-1): McIntosh; Hanson, Clark, Amick, Farfan; Zemanski, Lewis; Mohamed, Bijev, Arboleda; Williams
When: Saturday, June 10, 7:00pm MDT
Where: Rio Tinto — Sandy, Utah
Weather: 78 degrees, Partly Cloudy