How To Watch and Match Preview: Portland Timbers vs. Philadelphia Union - MLS - 03/23/2024

International call-ups and recent performances shape the showdown between the teams in Major League Soccer

Portland Timbers v Houston Dynamo FC
Portland Timbers v Houston Dynamo FC / Juan Finol/GettyImages

This Saturday, fans' eyes will be fixed on the clash between the Philadelphia Union and the Portland Timbers, in another thrilling chapter of Major League Soccer (MLS). The game promises to be a test of strength and strategy for both teams, especially considering the significant absences they face due to international call-ups.

The undefeated Philadelphia Union this season faces the challenge of maintaining their unbeaten streak but will have to do so without some of their key players. The absence of names like Jose Martinez, Andre Blake, and Daniel Gazdag will certainly be felt, representing nearly half of the minutes played by the team so far in the league. The team relies on the depth of their squad and the confidence of coach Jim Curtin to overcome these losses and remain competitive.

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On the other hand, the Portland Timbers, despite having fewer players called up for national teams during the international break, are coming off a defeat that broke their unbeaten run. Their offensive performance under the guidance of Phil Neville has been notable, with players like Evander, Antony, Asprilla, and Moreno showing great skill and creativity in attack. The addition of striker Jonathan Rodriguez, newly acquired from Club America, only enhances the team's offensive potential.

For viewers eager to catch this unmissable clash, the match will be broadcast live on the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, providing a comprehensive experience for fans who want to witness every twist and turn of this thrilling duel.

In terms of game strategy, both the Philadelphia Union and the Portland Timbers will have to adapt their tactics due to the absences of key players. On the Union side, coach Curtin is expected to make use of the depth of his squad, with players like Oliver Semmle, Mikael Uhre, and Julian Carranza stepping into prominent roles. Meanwhile, the Timbers will rely on their dynamic and creative offense to create scoring opportunities, seeking to maintain pressure on the opposing defense.

Furthermore, the atmosphere of the game will be intense, with both teams aiming to secure valuable points in this early stage of the season. For the Philadelphia Union, a win would mean staying atop the table and reinforcing their position as one of the teams to beat in the MLS. Meanwhile, the Portland Timbers will seek to bounce back from the previous defeat and get back on the winning track while maintaining their aspirations of winning the league title.