Match Preview: MNUFC @ Portland Timbers

Minnesota United play in an MLS match against the Portland Timbers at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Saturday, May 18, 2024.
(Tim McLaughlin)

In another edition of Late Night Loons, Minnesota United FC face off against Portland Timbers in the Rose City on Saturday night. It’s a must win match for the Loons as they look to regain their footing and some semblance of good form after a poor streak of results.

Portland enters the weekend on a six-match unbeaten streak (4 wins, 2 draws), which began after their 2-1 loss at Allianz Field on May 18. Of those, three wins and one draw came in home matches at Providence Park, where the Timbers have a 3-3-1 record against Minnesota.

Form (W-L-D)

MIN: 5th (29 pts), 8-6-5 (4-4-1 away)

POR: 6th (27 pts), 7-7-6 (4-2-3 home)


MIN || Out: H. Bacharach (knee), F. Fragapane (leg), T. Pukki (knee), H. Dotson (red card suspension), A. Bran (intl duty), C. Harvey (intl duty), T. Oluwaseyi (intl duty), D. St. Clair (intl duty). Questionable: None.

POR || Out: M. Loria (lower leg), M. Araujo (intl duty), M. Crepeau (intl duty), K. Miller (intl duty). Questionable: None.

Key Players

The Timbers’ performance through the international window is near the opposite of Minnesota’s. Goalkeeper James Pantemis, filling in for Canadian international Maxime Crépeau, registered his third clean sheet of the season last weekend in Portland’s 2-0 win over Vancouver. At the other end of the pitch, Portland has registered 12 goals through the six-game streak, two per match.

Their scoring may not be flashy but it is consistent. In fact, Portland has three players on eight or more goals, the only club in MLS to achieve the feat this year: Felipe Mora has 9 goals, 3 assists; Evander 8 goals, 10 assists; Jonathan Rodríguez 8 goals, 4 assists. All three are available tonight.

Also available, for the last time in 2024, is Dairon Asprilla. After nearly a decade in the Rose City, the attacking winger has been transferred to Atlético Nacional and his Timbers tenure will be honored tonight.


Loons defender, and former Timber, Zarek Valentin looks forward to the challenge that the atmosphere at Providence Park presents:

“Enjoy it first and foremost, it’s a great environment to play in. The fans are always loud, they always bring it, they bring energy, excitement. It’s a big game, I think for us it’s been good to have some time in-between this busy schedule and to kind of get back and focus on the basics. Enjoy it, it’s going to be a tough opponent who’s been in very good form recently, they’ve turned it around of recent. It’s going to be a fun game against a good opponent in a good environment. What more could you ask for?”

Valentin may be called into action tonight with the departure of Victor Eriksson as the Loons back line continues to thin. Eriksson’s transfer to Hammarby was made official Saturday morning. Michael Boxall will certainly feature tonight but the centerback is still nursing an ankle knock. The veteran leadership of Valentin, Boxall, and Wil Trapp, will be especially crucial given midfielder Hassani Dotson’s red card suspension and the [still unofficial] departure of winger Kervin Arriaga.

To bolster the bench, head coach Eric Ramsay has called up Rory O’Driscoll from MNUFC2 on a short-term agreement. The midfielder has three goals and two assists in two seasons with the Twos and made a good impression in his first senior appearance during the Loons’ international friendly against FC Kaiserslautern in 2023.

Minnesota will need to match or better their last performance against Portland in order to gain some security in the top five. And to regain the confidence of the fans.

The match kicks off at 9:39 PM CDT. Follow Northland Soccer Journal for live updates and post-match coverage.

Minnesota United play in an MLS match against the Portland Timbers at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Saturday, May 18, 2024.
(Tim McLaughlin)