Kicking off a three-game home-stretch in May, the Timbers welcome a 3-2-2 DC United side to Providence Park on Saturday.
While it's true that we're not yet 1/4 of the way through the season, for the Timbers the next three games likely represent the last chance at making the playoffs. Despite having most of last year’s team back for 2014, to date the Timbers are winless, have achieved only 5pts in 8 games, and have put up a league-low 0.63PPG.
There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said and the Timbers’ leadership and character is being put to the test.
If history is any guide, to qualify for the playoffs the Timbers will likely need ~50pts. With 26 games left and 5pts to date, the Timbers will need to average ~1.7PPG over the rest of the season. The bottom line is that in order to qualify, they now must win home games and get results on the road.
Three Questions for the Match on Sunday:
· Do the Timbers show urgency without looking frantic?
· Has Caleb Porter identified 11 players who are able to work together as a team?
· Are the Timbers able to take the initiative early and generate goals?
· Despite post-game comments to the contrary, the loss two weeks ago @ RSL appears to have been a turning point for this team. The Timbers come out uninspired and lose to a DC United side hungry to prove themselves in 2014 (1-3).