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Preview: Portland Timbers vs. DC United

Preview: Portland Timbers vs. DC United

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Major League Soccer clash between Portland Timbers and DC United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both teams will be hoping to continue their perfect start to the MLS season when DC United make the journey to Providence Park and face Portland Timbers.

The home side defeated Colorado Rapids 4-1 in their opening game, while the visitors won 3-1 against New England Revolution.

Match preview

Portland Timbers head coach Phil Neville looks on on February 25, 2024© Reuters

Portland Timbers failed to make it into the end-of-season playoffs for the second consecutive year last season, having previously qualified for five straight years, including appearances in the MLS Cup in 2018 and 2021.

The end of last season saw Portland lose both their last two games, allowing San Jose Earthquakes to sneak above them and into the final playoff qualification spot.

This was the final game for interim manager Miles Joseph, with Phil Neville returning to MLS football and leading Portland into the new season.

Despite the Timbers having a poor pre-season which saw them win one, draw one and lose both their final matches prior to the official season beginning, Neville was able to guide his side to a resounding 4-1 victory on the opening day.

A fantastic first 45 minutes saw Portland Timbers head into the half-time break 4-0 ahead, with goals from Eryk Williamson, Antony Alves (2) and an own goal from Sam Vines. Calvin Harris was able to pull one back for the Rapids but it proved to be just a consolation as the game ended 4-1.

That result may have helped quell some Timbers fans’ minds as Neville’s appointment was initially met with wide-scale scepticism, largely down to his poor start to the 2023 season with Inter Miami in which they lost 10 of their first 15 matches.

DC United forward Christian Benteke (20) celebrates scoring a goal on February 24, 2024© Reuters

DC United had a similarly poor season last time around with Wayne Rooney only able to lead the side to 12th in the Eastern Conference, three points adrift from Charlotte FC who finished in ninth.

Since then, Rooney has stepped down from his managerial duties to pursue other opportunities and return to his family in England, and Troy Lesesne has been appointed in the role.

While many gave DC United little chance against New England Revolution, the Black-and-Red cruised to a 3-1 victory.

DC United had 30 shots and created an impressive 4.58xG in total, while they were able to limit New England to 10 shots, creating an xG of just 0.85 in comparison.

Christian Benteke was expectedly the main man for his side once again and followed up his 14 goals last season by scoring all three of DC United’s goals in the opening game of this campaign.

Portland Timbers Major League Soccer form:

DC United Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Portland Timbers players celebrate after a goal on February 25, 2024© Reuters

Both sides come into this game with multiple players missing out for a variety of reasons, with Portland Timbers bemoaning an injury list of four and DC United having five out.

The Timbers will be without Claudio Bravo, Felipe Mora and Marvin Loria due to knee and foot injuries with all three not expected to return until at least late March.

Maxime Crepeau is also out for the Timbers due to personal reasons.

As for DC United, Garrison Tubbs and Jacob Murrell will both be missing due to thigh injuries.

Russell Canouse, Steve Birnbaum and Tyler Miller are also ruled out for the upcoming game.

Portland Timbers possible starting lineup:
Pantemis; Mosquera, McGraw, K. Miller, E. Miller; Paredes, Chara; Moreno, Williamson, Alves; Asprilla

DC United possible starting lineup:
Bono; Herrera, Bartlett, McVey, Santos; Klich, Peltola; Hopkins, Ku-DiPietro, Pirani; Benteke

SM words green background

We say: Portland Timbers 2-1 DC United

Both teams will be hoping to continue their winning start to the 2024 MLS season going in this one after solid wins on the opening day.

DC United have won three of the last four meetings between the two sides but with Portland Timbers holding the home advantage in this one, we believe they will go on and narrowly take the victory.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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