The good news is that nobody thinks tonight will be a cakewalk - D.C. United have not been very successful in cakewalks recently. The Portland Timbers, despite failing to win any of their eight games so far in 2014, still represent a very talented, dangerous team. They've also not yet lost a game at home, drawing all four matches. Meanwhile, los Capitalinos ride a five-match unbeaten streak that they'll look to extend in their first of six matches this month, but they might have to do it without the services of Timbers killer Eddie Johnson and fullback Sean Franklin, both listed as questionable on the injury report. (And United are being coy about whether the pair even made the trip. As always, it will come down to the men on the field. So let's get it done tonight in Portland.
Kickoff Time: 10:30pm EDT (7:30 Portland commie time)
Venue: Providence Park (f/k/a Jeld-Wen Field), Portland, Oregon
TV/Streaming: For the first time this year, get ready to hear Dave Johnson and Santino Quaranta (live from Bethesda!) as Comcast SportsNet will be covering tonight's game for the Mid-Atlantic. Elsewhere, hop online for MLS Live or hit the pay-per-view Direct Kick package.
Projected DC XI: Ben Olsen will have to deal with some injury question marks tonight, but I don't expect him to detour from the 4-4-2 that has delivered the team's current unbeaten streak. Bill Hamid gets the start in goal. In defense, look for Chris Korb (for Franklin), Bobby Boswell, Jeff Parke and Cristian Fernandez. The midfield four of Nick DeLeon, Davy Arnaud, Perry Kitchen and Chris Rolfe returns unchanged. Up front Conor Doyle steps into the lineup (for Johnson) alongside Fabian Espindola.
Projected Portland XI: Caleb Porter really has yet to ever diverge from his preferred 4-2-3-1 with the Timbers, so look for that - Donovan Ricketts; Jack Jewsbury, Futty Danso, Pa-Modou Kah, Michael Harrington; Diego Chara, Will Johnson; Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, Kalif Alhassan; Gaston Fernandez. As always, we'll have the official lineups in the comments once they're announced.
Previews: As always, peruse our weekly Story Stream, where you'll find Filibuster's podcast preview featuring Timbers blogger Stacey Neve, a question exchange with a different Timbers blogger, and the best scouting report on Portland you'll see this side of anywhere - plus a whole lot more. For the home team's perspective, head on over to our friends at Stumptown Footy.
Prediction: Unlike the last time United visited the Rose City when the Timbers had yet to lose at home that season, I think both teams keep their respective winless/unbeaten streaks alive tonight. I expect a 2-2 draw that will leave DC unbeaten in six and Portland winless in nine. Everybody, and nobody, leaves happy.
What Are You Drinking?: In honor of the west coast trip, I grabbed a typical west coast beer (though not a Portland one, because sleeping with the enemy and all that). I'll be having Sierra Nevada's Ruthless Rye IPA.
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