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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Timbers' Next Two Opponents Show Portland That Points Are Out There

Posted by Brian Gjurgevich on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 10:14 AM

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  • Philadelphia Union

The Timbers had a fine opportunity to scout their next two opponents in one fell swoop on Wednesday night: Philadelphia and New England played to a dramatic 4-4 draw at PPL Park, and although such news wouldn't normally make much noise west of I-476, Portland fans likely took notice.

More than two weeks removed from their last match, the Timbers travel to Philly for a Saturday clash with the Union (4:30 pm on ROOT Sports, 750 AM) and host New England on Sept. 16. Currently tied with New York for the 10th and final Major League Soccer playoff spot, Portland needs points if it plans on stretching its inaugural season beyond the regular, and after Wednesday's "preview", a pair of crucial wins against struggling squads hardly looks out of the question.

Both the Union and Revolution showed some major vulnerabilities, albeit in separate halves. New England (whose only goal at this point should be avoiding the MLS cellar) made the Union's defense look downright porous en route to an early 3-0 lead, but just when you started planning how you'd celebrate Portland's second road win of the season, Philly roared back with three second-half scores to snatch the wild draw.

Both future foes now sit on seven-game winless streaks, though each side could certainly take positives from the night: New England played its best stretch of the season in the first half, while Philly showed the guts required to stay in the postseason hunt.

But if you're wearing Rose-City-red-tinted glasses, you ought to view Portland's next two adversaries in another light: Philly gives up goals in bunches and New England's prone to epic collapses.

So, sure, lick those chops, Timbers fans. If Portland's serious about a run to the postseason with eight matches left, exposing opponents' obvious weaknesses is a good place to start. It's what playoff teams do.

Your chance to scout Philly and New England after the jump.

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