Knockout Stage presented by Audi

Preview: Portland Timbers vs. FC Cincinnati | MLS is Back Tournament, Round of 16

2020 MLS is Back Tournament – Round of 16
Portland Timbers vs. FC Cincinnati
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Tues., July 28 – 10:30 PM ET

TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes; TSN in Canada

STREAMING: ESPN App; TSN App in Canada

The tournament-tested Timbers meet Cinderella story FC Cincinnati on Tuesday, but the series history reminds us that things may not always be as straightforward as they seem. Can FCC keep their run under Jaap Stam going? Or will the Timbers continue their fine performances en route to a deep run in the MLS is Back Tournament?

There's been just one game between the Timbers and last year’s expansion side so far, and it’s one that will give Cincy some encouragement. FCC dispatched the Timbers 3-0 all the way back on March 17, 2019, earning their win as an MLS team. Bear in mind, though that the Timbers were on game three of a 12-game road trip to start the 2019 season.

Portland Timbers

The Timbers were fully deserving of their spot at the top of the group, sticking with it and finding a late equalizer against LAFC even when it looked like the 2019 Supporters' Shield winners might run away with their Group F finale. The reward for their persistence is avoiding arch-rivals (and reigning MLS Cup champs) Seattle and instead getting what on paper is a kinder Round of 16 matchup in FC Cincinnati. It won’t be easy — just ask Atlanta or the Red Bulls — but given the quality and cohesion they have, it’s easy to see why the Timbers might like this matchup as far as their chances for a deep run are concerned. 

Project Starting XI

Updated team roster

  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Dairon Asprilla (M) - left knee injury
    • UNAVAILABLE: Andres Flores (M)
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None

FC Cincinnati

After their 4-0 loss to Columbus to start the tournament, nobody would have predicted that FC Cincy would make it to the Knockout Stage. But with Jaap Stam making some changes to their tactics, the Orange and Blue managed to post two clean sheets and beat Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls with three goals in two games. Their new defensive approach, led by veteran center back Kendall Waston at the heart of a back three, should keep Cincinnati in the game vs. Portland, and a timely goal of the kind produced by Frankie Amaya and Yuya Kubo against Atlanta and the Red Bulls, respectively, could prove to be the difference.

Project Starting XI
  • Updated team roster
  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Jimmy McLaughlin (M) - ankle injury
    • OUT: Spencer Richey (GK) - concussion
    • OUT: Maikel van der Werff (D) - groin injury
    • QUESTIONABLE: Jürgen Locadia (F) - quad injury
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None

Series Matchup

  • Timbers: 0 wins, 0 goals
  • FC Cincinnati: 1 wins, 3 goals
  • 0 draws


  • Referee: Armando Villarreal
  • Assistant Referees: Andrew Bigelow, Claudiu Badea
  • 4th Official: Ramy Touchan
  • VAR: Rosendo Mendoza
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