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Behind Enemy Lines: Three More Questions with Stumptown Footy

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We talked with Michael Orr from Stumptown Footy again as Sporting KC heads to Portland Friday

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Here are my responses to Stumptown Footy's Questions.

1) Caleb Porter said after the USOC match that the plan was to "absorb SKC's attack" and to counter off of that. Do you expect a similar style Friday night?

It is pretty unlikely that the Timbers will sit back and try to counter at home on Friday night. Porter has previously indicated that he prefers to go for it at home and try to hit on counters on the road, which partly explains his use of Steve Zakuani instead of Rodney Wallace last night in Kansas. The overall set up will be the same, as far as formation goes, but the emphasis will shift from that countering style to a more attacking outlook. That will mostly fall on the shoulders of Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri and Wallace, none of whom traveled to Kansas City. They'll replace the midfield line of Kalif Alhassan, Gaston Fernandez and Zakuani.

2) How different will the lineup look for Friday night's match compared to Tuesday's match?

As alluded to in the previous answer, there will be many changes to the XI that played last night, most notably in attacking positions. Expect Fanendo Adi to start in place of Maximiliano Urruti with Valeri, Nagbe and Wallace behind. Diego Chara will return to the line-up, as will Michael Harrington in a starting role. Pa Modou Kah should be a center back starter and could be paired either with Rauwshan McKenzie, or if he's available (and made official by then), Liam Ridgewell. The apparent injury to Norberto Paparatto could force Porter's hand a bit at center back. And at right back it will either be Jack Jewsbury shifting back from the holding midfield role he played in the two US Open Cup games or Alvas Powell, depending on fatigue and Porter's preference. Donovan Ricketts will be back in goal, too. So all that said, Will Johnson is the only starter from last night who will be assured of a starting spot again on Friday.

3) With at least one more US Open Cup match, four Champions League matches and the rest of the MLS season, do the Timber's have enough depth to make deep runs in all three competitions?

The biggest question about depth the Timbers will face will come in defense. Though they got away with it last night, starting Taylor Peay probably isn't a realistic option in the Champions League. Though to be fair, that decision had as much to do with rewarding a good performance in the Fourth Round and the limitations on foreign players in the Open Cup. When fully healthy, Porter can just about play an entire second XI and feel reasonably comfortable. In fact, that's more or less what most are expecting to happen in the game in Guyana whenever that takes place. But again, defense is the key. A Danny O'Rourke/McKenzie central defense is not exactly imposing so Porter will want to get as much as he can from the regular starters. There are more than enough attacking players to go around so the Timbers should be able to realistically focus on each competition, should they continue to advance in the Open Cup in two weeks.