Let's keep it whimsical, eh?
There's just so little time for whimsy in a regular season. The games appear on the calendar like they're on a conveyor belt, more and more, each one more pressure-packed, each one a final exam for someone. So let's appreciate that tonight is something different - the team we love, the Chicago Fire, are playing a team lots of people in Portland love, the Timbers. And there's nothing really on the line, so - why not watch with love? Why not appreciate the difference?
Each team has chosen to swap many players from their Sunday lineups - we predicted anarchy, but maybe not this much anarchy. The Fire stick with Kennedy Igboananike and Adailton, but rotate the rest of the team. Oddities include Greg Cochrane as a defensive winger - interesting! - playing in front of draftee Patrick Doody on the left side. The midfield is ... also interesting. It's a 4-4-2, with Alex on the right, Cochrane on the left, and Kennedy Bryce overlapping the ever-inward-looking Alex.
The Timbers also go with a straight-up second XI for tonight's game. Only Gaston Fernandez returns from the presumptive starting group, which lost 1-0 to Vancouver Sunday evening.
Tonight's XI: Weber, Peay, Paparatto, Manning, Jeanderson, Fochive, Besler, Nanchoff, Asprilla, Urruti, Fernandez #RCTID
— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) February 26, 2015
Whether you're at the Section 8 watch party, or at home on your laptop, or surreptitiously streaming the game on your phone while at a professional conference, hit the comments with whatever you're seeing. Everybody sees something!