The Portland Timbers will face CD Marathón in Providence Park at 5pm PT this evening for the second leg of their Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 clash versus CD Marathón of Honduras. Portland secured a 2-2 draw in the previous fixture.
The Timbers left San Pedro Sula one week ago with two away goals and plenty of confidence. Despite Honduran goals that leveled the tie not once but twice, Portland looked like the better team throughout. In a more familiar setting (and, more importantly, a more forgiving pitch), Portland should be able to put themselves through.
Now they face a straightforward task in the home leg: win or draw without conceding two goals.
This will be just the second match in Providence Park with fans since last season, and the first for the Timbers since a 1-0 victory over Nashville SC on March 8th, 2020. With the park operating at 20% capacity, the extra support should give Portland a small home boost.
Portland were without Sebastián Blanco and Jeremy Ebobisse for the first leg, and both should be back—if not starting—for the second.
Don’t be surprised to see Ebobisse starting over either Felipe Mora or Blanco. Mora did score last match, although he also missed a small handful of chances. We’ve seen Jebo on the wing and up top in the past, and he may be more fit than Blanco, who is coming off an ACL tear last season.
I expected Portland to let the game come to them a little more in the first leg, but after snagging the majority of possession in that match (58% to be exact), I expect them to do the same tonight. Marathón only need a single goal to flip the script, so the first score will be crucial. Gio Savarese & Co. will have to go for an early one to grab control of the tie.
With away goals being the tiebreaker, one Timbers goal means Marathón will need two to win. Portland certainly have the more talented roster, so this isn’t that tall of a task.
The Oregon Lottery Scoreboard has Portland at a comfortable -500 odds to win, with a draw at +700 and CD Marathón win least likely at +1000.
I predict a comfortable two-goal win for the Timbers, either 2-0 or 3-1. Maybe even four goals if the boys in green have their shooting boots on tonight.
Follow @doublepostpod for total coverage of tonight’s match, including our postgame reaction podcast later this evening.
As always, RCTID!