The Blues travel all the way to the Pacific Northwest as they begin a grueling stretch of three games in eight days. They play Portland tonight, then sojourn out to Toronto to play them for the second time this season, before returning to the not-so-friendly comforts of home to take on the Red Bulls in the first game of the Hudson River Derby.
As mentioned in the preview, Portland's struggling in defense of their MLS championship. But that shouldn't give Blues' fans false optimism; the Timbers barely made the playoffs last season, before barnstorming through the Western Conference playoffs and defeating Columbus Crew SC in Columbus to win their first top-flight trophy in 40 years. More to the point: playing at Providence Park is tough. It's one of the loudest, most intimidating environments in the league.
So it's a good thing that, this season, New York City has traveled well; they're one of five teams in the league with at least two wins away from home. A win tonight in Portland would go a long, long way towards cementing the impression that, despite the early-season winless streak, this team has improved and can contend for the playoffs.
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