Orlando City SC vs. Portland Timbers | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Justin Meram Dom Dwyer goal celebrate - ORL-RBNY-3.31.18

Orlando City SC vs. Portland Timbers
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 6
Orlando City Stadium - Orlando
4:00 pm ET – April 8, 2018

The monkey is off the Lions' back as Orlando City SC finally picked up their first win of the season, beating the New York Red Bulls, 4-3, last Saturday.

The Portland Timbers, meanwhile, were six minutes from their first victory of 2018, but Brandon Vincent scored the late equalizer for the Chicago Fire in a 2-2 draw.

In the abbreviated history between the teams, it has been a series of lopsided results, with the Timbers claiming a 3-0 home win a year ago after dropping their first two games against the Lions by a combined score of 6-1, per Opta.

Orlando City SC  

For the fourth time this season, Orlando City SC (1-2-1) conceded the first goal, but unlike the previous three games, they were able to dig themselves out to get a much-needed victory. In his season debut, Dom Dwyer struck for a brace and Sacha Kljestan picked up an assist against his former club.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Kljestan said after the game. “I’ve said Dom and I need to continue to work together and get to know each other on the field and our tendencies and hopefully by the end of the year we’re firing.”

Jason Kreis’ team continues to get closer to full health with center back Jonathan Spector and striker Stefano Pinho training fully this week.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: GK - Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma), F - Stefano Pinho (right ankle), D - Chris Schuler (undisclosed), D - Jonathan Spector (concussion), M - Oriol Rosell (knee)

Projected Starting XI
(4-4–2, diamond right to left)
GK: Joe Bendik — Scott Sutter, Lamine Sane, Amro Tarek, Mohamed El-Munir — Will Johnson, Cameron Lindley, Yoshimar Yotun, Sacha Kljestan — Justin Meram, Dom Dwyer

  • Notes: After last weekend, Dwyer now has 12 braces in league play since the start of 2012. Only four players have more in that time. … Orlando’s weekend 4-3 win over Red Bulls snapped a six-game winless run (4L-2D). The Lions conceded 12 goals across those six matches.

Portland Timbers      

The Timbers haven’t won yet — they’re one of four MLS teams still seeking a first victory — but first-year coach Giovanni Savarese believes his team is on the right path, a massive reversal from his post-game comments following a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on March 10 when he said he was embarrassed. It started with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with FC Dallas followed by a 2-2 tie with the Chicago Fire. Sebastian Blanco continued his hot play with a goal and an assist and Diego Valeri picked up his first goal of the season.

“I believe these past two games we showed that we’re going to be a really tough team to beat,” Savarese said in his weekly press conference on Tuesday. “I’ve been very, very happy with the guys in practice, in the games and that’s why I say we’re on the right path. But we have to continue to grow, there’s still areas we need to improve.”

  • Suspended: None 
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D- Roy Miller (left Achilles tendon), M - David Guzman (knee sprain)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-2-1, right to left)
GK: Jake Gleeson — Alvas Powell, Larrys Mabiala, Bill Tuiloma, Marco Farfan — Andres Flores, Diego Chara, Cristhian Paredes — Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco — Fanendo Adi

  • Notes: Dating back to last year, Blanco has eight goals+assists in his last seven league appearances. Prior to that run, he had just 12 goals+assists in his first 30 MLS appearances. … Portland haven’t won in their first four away games of the season (2L-2D). They have only kept one clean sheet in their last seven road league games (1W-4L-2D) dating back to last season.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Orlando City SC 2 wins, 6 goals … Portland Timbers 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
  • At Orlando: Orlando City SC 1 win, 4 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
  • Last meeting at Orlando: Orlando City SC 4, Portland Timbers 1 (April 3, 2016)


Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Adam Garner, Eduardo Mariscal
4th Official: Nima Saghafi
VAR: Kevin Stott