Timbers MatchDay: vs. Philadelphia

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Philadelphia at Portland

Kickoff: 6:55 p.m. Monday at Jeld-Wen Field.

TV: ESPN2 (cable Ch. 36) broadcast begins at 6:30 p.m.

Radio: 750 AM and 940 AM (Spanish).

Tickets: A very limited number of tickets were available on Sunday through Ticketmaster outlets.

Last season: Portland won 1-0 at home and the teams played to a scoreless draw at Philadelphia.

Storyline: Winning home games, especially against teams they are favored to beat, is a must if the Timbers hope to make the playoffs this season.

Lineup questions: Who will start wide in the midfield? Two of these guys: Darlington Nagbe, Eric Alexander and Kalif Alhassan. Will Mike Chabala or Rodney Wallace get the start at left back?

Familiar Philly faces: Forward Danny Mwanga and midfielder Freddy Adu. Mwanga played briefly at Portland’s Jefferson High School after moving from the Congo. He starred in two seasons at Oregon State before the Union made him the first overall pick in the 2010 SuperDraft. Adu, still only 22, is entering his ninth pro season. He made a newsworthy debut as a 14-year-old in 2004 with D.C. United.

Matchup to watch: Timbers attack vs. Union defense. With three returning starters on a defense that was among the best in MLS last season, the back line appears to be the most settled area for a Philadelphia team that added 13 new players to its roster. Portland is hoping for a positive start for Kris Boyd. To get it, the Timbers need purposeful possession in the attacking third, especially on the wings.

What will the Timbers Army do? Given the occasion and national TV, expect the Army to raise a creative tifo banner in the north end before kickoff.

Follow Paul Danzer all Timbers season on Twitter at www.twitter.com/col_timbers