New York City FC Vs Portland Timbers: 3 things to watch for – Battle of the Argentines

New York City FC, Portland Timbers (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
New York City FC, Portland Timbers (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Steve Clark
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – JULY 18: Steve Clark #12 of the Portland Timbers clears the ball during the MLS Is Back Tournament match between Portland Timbers and Houston Dynamo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on July 18, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Roy Miller/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

2. Which Steve Clark will show up?

Portland Timbers’ goalkeeper Steve Clark had himself a game in the Round of 16 matchup against FC Cincinnati. There were the highs, and then, there were the lows. The MLS veteran was on his way to a clean-sheet victory, but a devastating mistake cost the Timbers an easy win. In the 79th minute, Clark failed to clear the ball, attempted to grab it with his hands but fouled Allan Cruz in the box. Jurgen Locadia equalized from the spot and Clark looked nervy from that point on.

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However, once the penalty shootout rolled around, a more confident Steve Clark emerged. He led his team to a 4-2 win in the shootout, saving Locadia’s attempt. He went from making a terrible mistake to becoming the hero for Portland. But will his heroics continue against New York City FC, or will the dreadful error niggle at his confidence?

If Clark is worried about making a similar mistake on Saturday, his focus will not quite be at 100%. Conversely, his match-winning performance in the penalty shootout prove that he is capable of outstanding moments and may suggest his confidence will not be as devastatingly dented.

So, which Clark will show up? Will it be the one who is still mentally impacted by his shakiness towards the end of the last game? Or will it be the confident hero who got Portland to the quarter-finals? Whichever it is could hugely impact how influential a potentially potent NYCFC attack is.