A star playmaker on either side will be starting on the bench as New York City FC take on the Portland Timbers in the quarterfinals of the MLS is Back Tournament (10:30 pm ET | FS1, TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
NYCFC's Maxi Moralez and Portland's Diego Valeri will both look to work their magic as substitutes as their teams battle for a semifinal spot — it is a familiar spot for Moralez in this tournament, but less so for Valeri.
Moralez, 33, suffered a quad injury in his team's tournament opener against the Philadelphia Union, only returning for 11 minutes in the group-stage finale against Miami. He then played 54 minutes off the bench in their Round of 16 win over Toronto as a 30th-minute injury substitute, and was subbed off in the later stages of the game.
Valeri, 34, has featured in every game of the tournament so far for the Timbers, in all but their group-stage finale as a starter. He did go the full 90 in Portland's eventual shootout win over FC Cincinnati on Tuesday night, which may have played a part in head coach Giovanni Savarese's decision to utilize him as a substitute on Saturday night and instead start 23-year-old Costa Rican midfielder Marvin Loria.