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New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers | 2018 MLS Match Preview

New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 2
Red Bull Arena - Harrison
7:00 pm ET – March 10, 2018
WATCH: MLS LIVE

On the heels of a historic win in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals in Tijuana, the New York Red Bulls finally open the 2018 MLS regular season looking a bit younger than they did when they ended the 2017 season, following a contentious Eastern Conference Semifinals series with Toronto FC.

Meanwhile, it will be a homecoming for Portland Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese, who lost on his MLS head coaching debut. Savarese, a MetroStars legend before his highly-successful New York Cosmos coaching stint, will no doubt have lots of friends and family at Red Bull Arena.

New York Red Bulls 

Bradley Wright-Phillips, who has three goals in his last two CCL games, struck twice and Luis Robles donned a Superman cape in a heroic effort as the Red Bulls defeated Club Tijuana, 2-0, in the first leg of the quarterfinals.

The second leg is at Red Bulls Arena on Tuesday, which means there’s a strong likelihood Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch will utilize a heavily rotated squad for the league opener against Portland.

It might also mean the first start for Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra, the club’s big offseason signing who arrived from Argentina after a long wait.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • Injury Report: DOUBTFUL: M - Marc Rzatkowski (hamstring)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Luis Robles — Connor Lade, Tommy Redding, Fidel Escobar, Aurelien Collin — Sean Davis, Florian Valot — Ben Mines, Kaku, Derrick Etienne Jr. — Carlos Rivas

  • Notes: Luis Robles has 508 career saves, 16th most in MLS history. Robles needs just 37 saves to move to 15th all-time. … New York has hosted Portland four times since the Timbers joined the league. The Red Bulls have failed to win either of the last two games at home against Portland (1L-1D) after winning their first two games against the West Coast side.

Portland Timbers

It wasn’t the start Savarese wanted with the LA Galaxy scoring twice in a two-minute span just past the half-hour mark en route to a 2-1 win over the Timbers Sunday night at StubHub Center.

After that one-two punch by Ola Kamara and Romain Alessandrini, Portland settled down in the second half and pulled within a goal thanks to a 66th-minute strike by Sebastian Blanco.

“I saw some very important things that are I think are signs the guys are understanding what I’m asking,” Savarese said on Tuesday. “That’s important. I think we had a better second half on the ball, but I felt that once we were disciplined the first half, we did some very good things.”

The big question heading into the Timbers second game away from home is the health of Diego Chara, who was sorely missed Sunday night.

“We’ll see, we’ll make that analysis this week,” Savarese said. “We’ll see if this is the right moment to come in and then we’ll make that decision. But he’s very close.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Vytas (right thigh), GK - Jeff Attinella (right thigh), D - Roy Miller (left Achilles tendon); QUESTIONABLE: M - Diego Chara (right foot)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Jake Gleeson — Alvas Powell, Larrys Mabiala, Liam Ridgewell, Marco Farfan — Cristhian Paredes, David Guzman — Sebastian Blanco, Diego Valeri, Andy Polo — Fanendo Adi

  • Notes: Fanendo Adi has an assist in each of the last two MLS regular season games he has played, after not registering an assist in the previous 13 games.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Red Bulls 3 wins, 14 goals … Timbers 2 wins, 12 goals … Ties 3
  • At New York: Red Bulls 2 wins, 6 goals … Timbers 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 1
  • Last meeting at New York: New York Red Bulls 0, Portland Timbers 0 (July 10, 2016)

Referees

Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Nick Uranga, Danny Thornberry
4th Official: Alex Chilowicz
VAR: Silviu Petrescu

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