In continuation of our gameweek ritual, Michael Orr of Stumptown Footy, our SB Nation Portland Timbers site, to answer some questions in advance of Sunday's showdown in the City Without Pity.
Obviously, Gaston Fernandez's debut for the Timbers was highly successful. Can he, Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri all coexist in the same lineup, or is Porter going to have to rotate them to keep everyone happy?
Fernandez got the equalizer at the death, but actually his regular season debut was a bit rough. Throughout the preseason, because Valeri was still recovering from injury, Fernandez played in the no. 10 role. With Valeri back, however, that pushed Fernandez wide to the left and rendered him mostly ineffective. That triumvirate is the key to Portland's offense success, but Porter still has work to do in determining the best possible alignment. If the Timbers were scoring at this point, it wouldn't be a question, but with mostly set piece goals at this point, all the attacking and passing has been for naught. If that doesn't change, a line-up decision could. Though not likely before Chicago arrives on Sunday.
In investor/operator Merritt Paulson, the Timbers have the type of owner that Chicago supporters thought we were getting when Andrew Hauptman bought the Fire - committed and passionate, but realistic. How's that feel?
A striker in Portland's system has many of the same, thankless tasks as in the Fire's 4-1-4-1. How is Max Urruti fitting into that role? What's the backup plan if the Argentine doesn't work out?
Orr's predicted Timbers starting XI: Ricketts; Jewsbury, Futty, Paparatto, Harrington; Johnson (c), Chara; Nagbe, Valeri, Fernandez; Urruti.
Injuries/Absences: Pa Modou Kah (hamstring), Rodney Wallace (ACL), Evans (back) Possible: Kalif Alhassan, Steve Zakuani
My answers to Stumptown Footy's questions (including a bonus question about the new home kit!) can be found here.