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Oppo Research: 5 Things about Portland Timbers

Stumptown Footy's Sam Svilar tells us why Nevilleball is working, why Eryk Williamson is dangerous — and why it could all fall apart.

Eryk Williamson is one to look out for | Portland Timbers

In this edition of Oppo Research, Hudson River Blue spoke with Sam Svilar of Stumptown Footy to learn more about the Portland Timbers, New York City FC's home opener opponent at Yankee Soccer Stadium on Saturday. Here is your NYCFC vs Portland Timbers preview.

1. Not a bad way to start the season

Hudson River Blue: Portland missed the 2023 MLS Playoffs by one point but started this season strongly, winning the season opener 4-1 against the Colorado Rapids then drawing 2-2 with DC United. How do fans of Portland feel about their team’s performances?

Sam Svilar: The vibe in Portland is currently "cautiously optimistic but please oh please don't hurt me again."  The Timbers are playing with a structure and a plan unlike what we saw from the team over the past few years, and it has been very refreshing. I don't think even the most positive fan could have predicted the explosion the Phil Neville era started with against the Rapids, and so everyone has been pleasantly surprised with the team so far, especially on the offensive end.

That being said, some of Portland's bad habits reared their ugly head last weekend and the Timbers let a 2-0 lead slip at home. It was a cautious reminder that despite the improved structure and improved vibes, this team still has frailties and isn't the complete package.

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