Timbers2 v MNUFC2
Providence Park | Portland, Oregon
6.3.2023 | MLS NEXT Pro Game No. 11
2:00 p.m. CT | Streaming on AppleTV’s MLS Season Pass
It’s another trip to the West Coast for the Twos this week, as they’ll be taking on the Rose City this Saturday against Timbers2. This weekend’s matchup will be their first meeting of the 2023 season, and it finds the squads in very different situations.
Watching MNUFC2 has been nothing short of exhilarating this year. They’ve fought hard for every point, earning a 4-3-3 record and picking up one shootout win. With 23 goals scored and just as many conceded, they’ve shown an eye for goal and a tendency to let a few slip by on the other end. They’re currently sitting at 6th in the Western Conference, just five points out of second with a game in hand.
Timbers2, on the other hand, has not found the same kind of success in 2023. After 10 games, they’ve managed just three wins, dropping each of the other seven matches. They’re starting to find themselves in a bit of a hole at 13th place in the West, but there’s plenty of season left for them to try and turn things around.
While Portland don’t pose much of a scoring threat, the most likely candidates to find the back of the net for the home side have to be Noel Caliskan and Florián Monzón, who have scored three apiece for their squad this year. Timbers2 most notable player is undoubtedly Keesean Ferdinand, as the defender has not only started all 10 matches, he has gone the distance in each one. If anything goes well for the hosts, there’s a good chance one of these three will be involved.
For the Loons, the year’s biggest story has been Portuguese forward Diogo Pacheco. He’s the first player in MLS NEXT Pro to reach 10 goal contributions, leading his team with six goals and four assists. If he can keep his hot form going, he’ll almost certainly cause problems for Portland’s leaky defense.
With the season fully and firmly underway, it’s time for the contenders to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. For MNUFC2, a win this weekend would help solidify their status as playoff hopefuls, while a win for Timbers2 might be exactly what they need to jump-start their season before it’s too late. Regardless of the result, Saturday’s match will set a precedent for their second meeting at the National Sports Center in July.