Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake, 3 Points to watch: Playoff scenario, off-field distractions, defensive lineup

The Portland Timbers’ playoff hopes relaxation of their ultimate fit of the common season at Real Salt Lake on Sunday. After an eventful week in Soccer City, together with a number of off-field controversy, the Timbers intention to block out the noise and get the outcome they want to advance to the postseason.

The Oregonian/OregonLive has Three Points to look forward to Portland vs. Real Salt Lake:

1. HOW THEY GET IN

The Timbers can clinch a playoff berth in the event that they win or draw at RSL on Sunday. A loss removes them from the postseason. It’s do or die time for Portland, and it might probably’t have enough money a lackluster efficiency or a blown outcome overdue within the fit because the Timbers had in opposition to LAFC.

If Portland does get in, its playoff seeding is extremely depending on what else occurs within the Western Conference. The Timbers can clinch the No. 4 seed (and a house playoff sport within the first spherical) in the event that they win and each LA Galaxy and Nashville lose or draw of their respective finales. But if Portland finally ends up clinching a playoff spot, it would finally end up any place from No. 4 to No. 7, relying at the effects round them.

2. SOCCER IS SECONDARY

While the Timbers are attempting laborious to regain center of attention at the game they play, the inevitable distraction swirling across the membership is the discharge of the U.S. Soccer investigation and the (*3*)ensuing firings of best executives Gavin Wilkinson and Mike Golub. Calls for Merritt Paulson to promote each groups and drive from sponsors stay consistent. Timbers trainer Giovanni Savarese referred to as it “impossible” to keep away from the out of doors noise, expressed his improve for the sufferers and inspired his gamers to talk out on what they consider is correct.

There is usually a possible display of harmony at the a part of the Timbers with their opposite numbers at the Thorns, however what that might seem like is unclear at this level. But something is apparent: Soccer is some distance from the one factor at the minds of Timbers gamers as Sunday approaches. Their hope as competition is it doesn’t have an effect on effects at the pitch.

3. BACK LINE QUESTIONS

The Timbers went with 5 defenders final day out, beginning a mixture of Claudio Bravo, Bill Tuiloma, Larrys Mabiala, Dario Zuparic and Juan Mosquera. It was once efficient in holding LAFC’s nuclear assault in test, for essentially the most phase. How the Timbers select to line up in opposition to Real Salt Lake stays to be noticed, however they’ve to like what they noticed out of newcomer Mosquera in his first get started: bodily implementing, robust at the ball, and decisive along with his crosses into the field from a large place.

Portland most likely received’t pass with that many defenders once more, however who begins within the middle again spots can be key. Does Zac McGraw go back to the lineup after a extremely efficient stretch with Zuparic suspended due to yellow card accumulation?

Portland vs. Real Salt Lake kicks off at 2 p.m. Sunday (TV on ESPN2).

— Ryan Clarke, rclarke@oregonian.com, Twitter: @RyanTClarke

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