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Three Questions with: Stumptown Footy

Will Conwell from the Timber's SB Nation blog gives us insight into this weekends Cascadia derby

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
It's the second round of the Caps versus Timbers series in the 2016 season, and if the first match at BC Place was an indicator of what's to come, Saturday's game at Providence Park should be a thriller.

We once again got in touch with Will Conwell from Stumptown Footy to get his thoughts on Portland's current form, and who the Caps should watch out for ahead of this weekends kickoff.

ESF: Portland's hit a bit of a rough patch the last three games. What do you think is the biggest reason for this drop in form?

STF: More than any other issue, the Timbers have been held back by their constant injury issues and everything that has sprung from that. Starting before the preseason even began, the Timbers have had to deal with twelve different players missing time so far this season, the majority of which are starters.

Now, the Timbers had a slow start last year and, after about a third of the season, they were able to get their ducks in a row and start moving up the table. That could still happen this season, but there is one important thing that 2015 had which 2-16 has lacked: a cohesive back line.

The Timbers' championship team was build on a strong defensive foundation -- something that the Whitecaps should remember after getting shut out twice in the playoffs -- and the number of injuries that they have suffered along the back line have thoroughly prevented that from being established this year. Liam Ridgewell, Alvas Powell, Chris Klute, Adam Kwarasey, and Diego Chara have all missed matches so far this season and all five were expected to be important parts of the Timbers' defensive group in 2016.

ESF: Of the four positional lines for Portland (Goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, attackers), which group has been the most stellar for the Timbers this season, and which has the most to improve?

STF: It is hard to pick out a truly stellar group for the Timbers so far in 2016 as every part of the team has been hit with injuries and inconsistent play from the get-go. Even stalwarts like Diego Chara and Diego Valeri have not had quite the same sustained level of performance that Timbers fans are used to getting.

If you had to pick one group, however, that have excelled, the forwards are probably the best pick. So far Fanendo Adi is keeping pace with Giovinco and David Villa for the Golden Boot, while sub Jack McInerney has grabbed a few goals for himself when called upon.

The attackers look particularly good when compared to the rest of the team who have suffered their fair share of gaffs, bad bounces, moments of poor communication, and whatever other bummers you can summon up as they look to forge themselves into one cohesive unit.

ESF: Fanendo Adi has scored the lions share of Portland's goals. Is he the main person the Caps defense should fear, or is there any other Timber that you think can hurt Vancouver?

STF: Fanendo Adi, whose involvement on Sunday is still up in the air after being forced off the pitch following a hamstring injury last weekend, is the main man for the Timbers. The big Nigerian has been involved in ten of the Timbers' seventeen goals so far and, if he can play, could very well be good for another goal or two to add to his title.

That being said, the Timbers are packed to the gills with players who could blow up and score a goal or three at any moment. Diego Valeri is the prime example of a player that you always should be wary of, but Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Melano, and even Diego Chara are all players capable of getting on the score sheet when their team needs them.

If the Timbers continue the slide that they are in, worry about Adi. If the Timbers can fight their way out of this slide, worry about everybody.