Three Questions is back! On Saturday, Orange County SC will take on Portland Timbers 2 at the big stadium, Providence Park. In order to get us ready for the game, I spoke with Stumptown Footy’s Kevin McCamish about T2. Many thanks to Kevin for taking the time to answer my questions!
Angels on Parade asks Stumptown Footy:
1. First, I'm wondering how things are going, on and off the field, for T2 so far in their third season?
Things are starting off same as they did in 2016. There has been a lot of turnover and so it is taking time for the new players to gel and learn what is expected of them. T2 got much younger in 2016 and they dropped a whole average year younger this season. So the youth is taking time to figure things out. One of the bright spots has been Kendall McIntosh keeping T2 in games they should've been blown out of. Hopefully things will improve once the backline, which 3 of 4 players are new, settles down and develops the chemistry needed to start getting shutouts.
2. Villyan Bijev was the T2 breakout star last season, and returns this year. Is he the team's best MLS prospect at the moment, and do you think he has a realistic shot of moving up to the Timbers' first team at some point?
Of all the people signed to T2 contracts he might be the best MLS prospect right now. McIntosh, Rennico Clarke, and Victor Arboleda are all on first team contracts loaned down so they don't count for this purpose. But Bijev doesn't have a realistic shot of moving up to the first team. His most comfortable position seems to be to play the 10. And the first team has a legendary player there already in Diego Valeri, who is having himself an MVP season so far. Bijev would need to light the entire league on fire to have a shot of getting a first team contract.
3. Orange County beat T2 to the last playoff spot last year by the absolute narrowest of margins. Will that provide any motivation for Portland on Saturday, or will the routine personnel churn in USL limit that?
The routine personnel churn will limit their motivation there. There has been mention that there should be some motivation but outside of perhaps head coach Andrew Gregor wanting a little revenge there wouldn't be too much motivation in the players other than to just try to get that first win of the season out of the way.
(Bonus) Prediction for Saturday's game?
On our most recent episode of Play The Kids when we reviewed this match both Josh and I predicted 2-1 wins for T2. His reasoning was a 3rd road game in a row for OC should benefit the home side. My reasoning was nothing more than going off how T2 started in 2016: 3 losses then their first win. And a 2-1 scoreline makes the most sense if T2 get the win. A shutout is highly unlikely and our attack isn't going to go off the rails and explode, so it'll be 2-1 if T2 get the victory.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!